Garcia cards eight birdies

The Witness - - SPORT -

SER­GIO Garcia (pic­tured) birdied three of the last four holes on his way to a fault­less open­ing round of 64 and a four-shot lead in the Euro­pean Tour’s Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge in Sun City yes­ter­day.

Garcia, fresh from vic­tory at the An­dalu­cia Valder­rama Mas­ters last month, carded eight birdies as he seeks a third ti­tle at Sun City af­ter wins in 2001 and 2003.

It was the Spaniard’s low­est open­ing round score of the sea­son by two shots and matched the big­gest first-round lead on the tour in 2018.

The course at the tour­na­ment dubbed “Africa’s Ma­jor” is nar­rower than many on the cir­cuit. “It’s im­por­tant to keep the ball in play as much as pos­si­ble here and it’s a pre­ci­sion type of golf course,” Garcia said.

He leads from South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, French­man Mike Loren­zoVera and Mikko Korho­nen from Fin­land, who all carded four-un­der-par rounds of 68.

A group of eight play­ers are at three un­der-par, in­clud­ing de­fend­ing cham­pion Bran­den Grace and 2010 Bri­tish Open win­ner Louis Oosthuizen.

World No 6 Rory McIl­roy could only man­age a level-par 72 af­ter a dou­ble­bo­gey at the par-four 17th fol­low­ing a way­ward drive.

McIl­roy has yet to win on the Euro­pean Tour this sea­son but is still in con­tention for the Race to Dubai and to be crowned Europe’s top golfer for 2018.

He must win in Sun City and next week in the United Arab Emi­rates to stand a chance of achiev­ing that. FIRST-ROUND SCORES

64 Ser­gio Garcia (ESP)

68 Mikko Korho­nen (FIN), Mike Loren­zoVera (FRA), Charl Schwartzel (RSA)

69 Ben­jamin He­bert (FRA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Ja­son Scrivener (AUS), Andy Sul­li­van (ENG), Matt Wal­lace (ENG), Ashun Wu (CHN)

70 Ryan Fox (NZL), Bran­den Grace (RSA) 71 Jorge Campillo (ESP), Ross Fisher (ENG), Matthew Fitz­patrick (ENG), Hao­tong Li (CHN), Shane Lowry (IRL), An­drea Pa­van (ITA), Ta­pio Pulkka­nen (FIN), Lee West­wood (ENG)

72 Dean Burmester (RSA), Richard McEvoy (ENG), Rory McIl­roy (NIR), Joakim Lager­gren (SWE), Joost Luiten (NED), Chris Pais­ley (ENG), Re­nato Para­tore (ITA), Aaron Rai (ENG), Matthias Sch­wab (AUT), Paul War­ing (ENG)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.