Rory McIlroy struggles as Sergio Garcia leads way in South Africa

Rory McIlroy struggles as Sergio Garcia leads way in South Africa

Rory McIlroy struggles as Sergio Garcia leads way in South Africa

Having surged four clear on Thursday, Sergio Garcia's progress was checked by a hard day at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Garcia, twice a Sun City victor before the Nedbank became part of the tour, made eight birdies in a brilliant start to the penultimate tournament of the season to move four strokes clear of Charl Schwartzel, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Mikko Korhonen at the Gary Player Country Club.

Oosthuizen birdied three of his first four holes and Haotong Li made four in a five-hole stretch from the second to stay in touch with Garcia, who made a three-putt bogey at the fifth. I made some good putts here and there.

"I'm going to need some great golf over the next two weeks, but we'll see what happens this week".

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Oostuizen who carded a five-under 67 to be on eight-under‚ a shot off Garcia‚ would have been in the lead had it not been for the only blemish on his card - a double bogey six on the eighth.

Finn Mikko Korhonen sits third, three shots off Garcia, with English pair Lee Westwood and Aaron Rai, South Africa's Dylan Frittelli and Ireland's Shane Lowry a further two shots back on four under after a 3 under par 69.

Pádraig Harrington, who will likely need a top-seven finish to make the top 60 in the Race to Dubai standings who qualify for next week's season-ending event, shot another 73 to slip to 37th on two-over.

On the PGA Tour, Séamus Power missed his third cut in four starts this season at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

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The Spaniard, looking for back-to-back victories after triumphing at Valderrama, shot an eight-under-par first round to lead by four but goes into the weekend just one ahead of home favourite Louis Oosthuizen.

South Africa's Branden Grace is back to defend the title he won in 2017, while the previous local victor, Trevor Immelman, who saluted a decade earlier, is also competing. The golf course is a ball-striker's paradise, really.

The 156-strong field features the likes of former European Tour winners Matteo Manassero and Marc Warren and former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson. He has nine wins from his previous 14 54-hole leads on the European Tour.

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