Garcia leads, Australian Scrivener in the mix at Sun City

Lynette Rowe
November 10, 2018

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.

Defending champion Branden Grace of South Africa shot a 71 to trail Garcia by six strokes.

Fellow Kiwi Danny Lee was also in action, carding a six-under 65 to grab a share of fourth in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

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.

McIlroy missed the fairway off the tee on 17 and then found a bunker.

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Eighth-placed McIlroy is nearly £1.75m behind Molinari in the Race to Dubai with the Italian set to take a lead of just under £1m from Ryder Cup partner and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood into the concluding event.

So Garcia, who won at Sun City in 2001 and 2003, finished with a one-under-par 71, inching him to nine-under-par overall, with Louis Oosthuizen closing in, a brilliant 67 on Friday leaving South Africa's highest-ranked golfer (39) just one shot behind. He began with a birdie and twice reeled off three in a row. I didn't play great in China but I've had a week off and (have been) just sort of reflecting on things.

"I think I played in four final groups in the previous two years combined, so it's better. I'm going to see if I can shoot below 70 and see if that's good enough".

The 38-year-old, who is going for a second consecutive win, having triumphed at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters last month, said in quotes on the European Tour website yesterday: "It felt great". I rolled the ball nicely, I made some good putts here and there. "It's been a very hard year, so it is nice to play at home - that builds confidence and I'll probably see some results soon".

Scrivener also started well at last week's Turkish Airlines Open before a perhaps disappointing weekend saw him finish 23rd but with the carrot of a start at next week's season ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai still available to him with a good finish this week he has a lot still to play for.

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