Garcia: I felt great, I rolled the ball nicely

Pretoria News - - SPORT -

SER­GIO GARCIA “rolled the ball nicely” to storm to a blem­ish-free open­ing round of 64 and lead the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge by four strokes yes­ter­day.

He birdied the first hole of the day in a sign of things to come, and then twice reeled off three birdies in a row – be­tween nine and 11, and again from 15 to 17 – to fin­ish four shots clear of Miko Korho­nen, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Charl Schwartzel.

“I felt great,” said Garcia af­ter­wards. “I rolled the ball nicely. I made some good putts here and there. One of those rounds where things kind of hap­pened nicely to me. I think I played very smart. I prob­a­bly wasn’t swing­ing un­be­liev­ably, but I kept it un­der con­trol. I kept the ball in play all the time, which is dif­fi­cult to do here.”

For Garcia, be­ing able to read the swirling winds around a course sit­u­ated in a bowl of moun­tains was key. On a day where many of the big names found trou­ble at least once or twice dur­ing the round Garcia’s per­for­mance was all the more im­pres­sive.

Be­hind Garcia, Lorenza-Vera was bo­gey-free for his 68, while Korho­nen and Schwartzel each dropped just once. A fur­ther stroke back on 69 was a group of six play­ers, which in­cluded SA’s 2010 Open cham­pion Louis Oosthuizen. He got off to a fast start and was four-un­der af­ter seven, but a bo­gey at eight seemed to un­set­tle him and he made just one more birdie and an­other bo­gey on his way home.

Bran­den Grace carded a 2-un­der 70 to find him­self six off the pace. Scores: 64 - Ser­gio Garcia

68 - Mike Lorenzo-Vera , Mikko Korho­nen , Charl Schwartzel

69 - Ashun Wu , Ben­jamin He­bert , Andy Sul­li­van , Matt Wal­lace , Louis Oosthuizen , Ja­son Scrivener 70 - Ryan Fox , Bran­den Grace

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