Garcia leads, Australian Scrivener in the mix at Sun City

Rory McIlroy left in Sergio Garcia's wake after first round of Nedbank Golf Challenge

Rory McIlroy left in Sergio Garcia's wake after first round of Nedbank Golf Challenge

Sergio Garcia has already opened up a significant lead at the Nedbank Challenge at Sun City in South Africa, his opening round of 64 his best start at Sun City since his win here in 2001 before the event became a European Tour title.

Fresh from his third successive win in the Andalucía Valderrama Masters three weeks ago, Garcia (38) combined impressive tee-to-green play with a clinical putting display.

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.

South Africa's Charl Schwartzel is one of three second-placed players on four-under, along with Finn Mikko Korhonen and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera.

But he was once again unable to safely negotiate the par-four eighth, following his first-round bogey with a double bogey Friday.

"I'm pretty happy with the round", Oosthuizen told reporters.

"I felt I played nicely today, but I would love a few of those putts to go in tomorrow".

"I've played good golf, I've played consistent golf, and I've played in six final groups this year but I haven't had a win out of any of those final groups", McIlroy added.

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Garcia's birdies came on the first, on four out of five holes from the seventh, and then on three of the last four. "It's a golf course that you need to be patient around".

"Making a good start is key on this course and I only made one bogey, on eight, when the wind turned, I actually hit a good shot but it was way short".

Fisher had eagled the second and picked up six more birdies to reduce Garcia's lead to two shots. He was on the green in six and three-putted for a nine on the par 4.

In nine previous appearances at Sun City, 2011 Masters champion Schwartzel has had five top-10 finishes, including being runner-up to German Martin Kaymer in 2012.

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.

McIlroy is nearly two million points behind Molinari and needs to win at least one of the remaining two events to overhaul the Italian, who enjoys a lead of just over one million points from Ryder Cup partner and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood.

"I haven't been giving myself good positions off the tee to give me chances with irons and get close enough to have a good look at birdies", McIlroy said.

"My thing is, I'm coming here with the goal‚" said McIlroy‚ rather ominously. "If you do that you give yourself a chance".

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