Gar­cia dom­i­nates day one in Sun City

Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

Ser­gio Gar­cia leads the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge by four shots af­ter post­ing a su­perb eight-un­der 64 on the open­ing day in Sun City, South Africa.

The Spa­niard, a two-time win­ner of the event, reg­is­tered eight birdies in his bo­gey-free round at Gary Player Coun­try Club.

South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel is one of three play­ers on four un­der, along with Finn Mikko Korho­nen and French­man Mike Lorenzo-Vera. There is then a group of six at three un­der, in­clud­ing Schwartzel’s com­pa­triot Louis Oosthuizen.

English­men Andy Sul­li­van and Matt Wal­lace, Aus­tralia’s Ja­son Scrivener, France’s Ben­jamin He­bert and China’s Wu Ashun are the oth­ers ly­ing five shots back.

South Africa’s de­fend­ing cham­pion Branden Grace is at two un­der, along with New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, while Rory McIlroy, who went into this tour­na­ment still hope­ful of win­ning a fourth Race to Dubai ti­tle, is a fur­ther two shots back.

The North­ern Ir­ish­man made the fourth birdie of his round on the 13th be­fore post­ing a sec­ond bo­gey on the 14th, and then dou­ble-bo­geyed the 17th.

Gar­cia’s birdies came on the first, on four out of five holes from the sev­enth, and then on three of the last four.

The 38-year-old - go­ing for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive win, hav­ing tri­umphed at the An­dalu­cia Valder­rama Masters last month - said: “It felt great. I rolled the ball nicely, I made some good putts here and there.

“It was one of those rounds where things hap­pened nicely to me. I think I played very smart, I prob­a­bly wasn’t swing­ing un­be­liev­ably but I kept it un­der con­trol and kept the ball in play all the time which is dif­fi­cult to do here.

“I man­aged to guess some of the winds here right and that is very, very dif­fi­cult. When you can do that here, it’s nice.”

Ser­gio Gar­cia.

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