Oosthuizen closes in on Gar­cia at half­way stage of Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Sun City: Home favourite

Louis Oosthuizen pro­duced a strong back nine to card a five­un­der-par 67 and trail leader Ser­gio Gar­cia by one shot at the half­way stage of the Eu­ro­pean Tour’s Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge at the Gary Player Coun­try Club yes­ter­day.

Gar­cia was fault­less in shoot­ing 64 in his open­ing round, but found the go­ing much tougher on Fri­day as he fin­ished with a 71 and a nine un­der-par to­tal. South African Oosthuizen is his near­est chal­lenger as he seeks a first win at a tour­na­ment he has long cov­eted, with Fin­land’s Mikko Korho­nen (70) three shots back.

Oosthuizen looked to be strug­gling af­ter a dou­ble-bo­gey on the eighth hole saw him turn at one un­der-par for the round. But an ea­gle on the 10th and birdies on 14 and 15 el­e­vated the 2010 Open Cham­pi­onship win­ner up the leader­board on a dif­fi­cult day for scor­ing with a swirling breeze.

“I’m pretty happy with the round,” Oosthuizen told re­porters.

“Af­ter eight I had a good run at a few holes. I feel like I’m play­ing nicely, I’m just try­ing to hit the fair­ways and the irons feel pretty good.

“You have to play the wind as you feel it be­cause it is so in­con­sis­tent. It’s a golf course that you need to be pa­tient around.”

At one stage Gar­cia led by five shots as he opened his round with birdies on the first two holes, but four bo­geys, in­clud­ing the 18th, spoiled his day and al­lowed oth­ers to close in around him.

Ross Fisher (72) looked like he would be one of those be­fore drop­ping an as­ton­ish­ing eight shots on his fi­nal four holes. Fisher had ea­gled the sec­ond and picked up six more birdies to re­duce Gar­cia’s lead to two shots.

But af­ter driv­ing into the trees on the 15th, the English­man took six shots to reach the green and then three-putted for a nine. He bo­geyed the fi­nal three holes as well.

He was by no means the only player to strug­gle on the

15th though as 2011 Mas­ters cham­pion Charl Schwartzel (78) needed nine shots to com­plete the hole.

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