Rory McIlroy struggles as Sergio Garcia leads way in South Africa

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

Sergio Garcia espoused the virtues of patience after his four-shot lead was trimmed to just one at the halfway mark of the Nedbank Golf Challenge (NGC) on Friday.

Two-time victor Sergio Garcia leads the way by four shots after posting a superb eight-under 64 at the Gary Player Country Club, registering eight birdies in his bogey-free round.

Garcia began with successive birdies, and picked up further shots on the par-four sixth, the par-five ninth and par-five 14th, but missed a short putt for par on the fifth, three-putted the 13th for a bogey and then dropped another shot on the 18th hole as his second putt horseshoed back at him. Oosthuizen, who is from South Africa, has never won his country's most prestigious tournament.

Rory McIlroy has not given up hope of winning a fourth Race to Dubai title despite facing a massive deficit to Open champion Francesco Molinari.

Mikko Korhonen (70) was third at 6 under, two behind Oosthuizen and three off the lead.

Southern African golfers have always acquitted themselves well at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, winning 14 of the 37 editions of "Africa's Major".

More news: F1 chasing "array of options" if Silverstone is axed

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.

"I wouldn't say it was a frustrating back nine‚" said a pragmatic Garcia. The golf course is a ball-striker's paradise, really.

"I think I played in four final groups in the previous two years combined, so it's better".

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.

England's Ross Fisher blazed his way eight-under for the round but came unstuck on the par-four 15th where he carded a nine.

Garcia was faultless in shooting 64 in his opening round, but found the going much tougher on Friday as he finished with a 71 and a nine under-par total. He was on the green in six and three-putted for a nine on the par 4.

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