Sports

Garcia sets pace at Sun City with faultless 64

Garcia sets pace at Sun City with faultless 64

Sergio García fired a superb eight-under-par opening-round 64 in the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Thursday to take a four-shot lead at Sun City with star attraction Rory McIlroy eight behind.

Fresh from his third successive win in the Andalucía Valderrama Masters three weeks ago, Garcia (38) combined impressive tee-to-green play with a clinical putting display.

At the PGA Tour's Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico, Matt Kuchar (40), Dominic Bozzelli and Web.com Tour graduate Kramer Hickok (26) opened with seven-under 64s to lead by a stroke from a 15-strong chasing posse.

South Africa's Charl Schwartzel is one of three second-placed players on four-under, along with Finn Mikko Korhonen and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera.

Garcia's error-free round was in stark contrast to that of world number six McIlroy, whose level-par 72 was characterised by some wayward driving.

Oosthuizen looked to be struggling after a double bogey on the eighth saw him turn at one under-par for the round.

"I felt I played nicely today, but I would love a few of those putts to go in tomorrow".

Oosthuizen, who began the day five behind Garcia, made the quick start he needed with three birdies in the first four holes.

"I actually played pretty nicely on the front nine but it was a bad, bad finish".

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"After eight I had a good run at a few holes".

"You have to play the wind as you feel it because it is so inconsistent". If you do that you can give yourself a lot of chances around here, but you need to get the ball in the fairway first.

Garcia is aiming for a third victory in Sun City after previous triumphs in 2001 and 2003.

He is four shots ahead of the field.

Fisher had eagled the second and picked up six more birdies to reduce Garcia's lead to two shots.

Li Haotong, who can also win the Race to Dubai at next week's Tour Championship, carded a 71. There is then a group of six at three under, including Schwartzel's compatriot Louis Oosthuizen. He bogeyed the final three holes as well.

McIlroy is nearly two million points behind Molinari and needs to win at least one of the remaining two events to overhaul the Italian, who enjoys a lead of just over one million points from Ryder Cup partner and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood. "Hopefully I can get off to a good start this week‚" said the Ulsterman.

"My thing is, I'm coming here with the goal‚" said McIlroy‚ rather ominously.

Oosthuizen's second round gave the 2010 Open champion the chance of a first tournament win since February 2016.


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