Lowry best of Irish as Garcia retains Sun City lead

South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen

South African Erik Van Rooyen can start fast

Cape Town - Erik van Rooyen has dreamed of playing in the Nedbank Golf Challenge since he was a child, and he gets his chance on the back of a year of solid performances in his debut season on the European Tour.

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 not ideal to see three-putts, but some of the pins were nearly impossible to get to and when you leave yourself 20 or 25 feet putting over hills then it's gonna happen sometimes", a phlegmatic Garcia said after his round on Friday. "My game is not really where I want it to be, but I've got two more opportunities this week to try and put a couple of good rounds together and then go to Dubai and try to finish the season on a high".

In addition to Oosthuizen, Dylan Frittelli is also leading the South African charge as he also shot a 67 on Friday to leap to four-under-par overall, five shots behind Garcia. "I would have taken it if you offered it to me on Thursday morning".

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

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. It's the first tournament that I came to watch live and watch my heroes play.

Tournament favourite Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland is one-under‚ eight shots off the lead.

McIlroy's front nine was promising with three birdies offset by just a single bogey, at the par-four third when his ball plugged just below the lip of a greenside bunker.

Defending champion Branden Grace of South Africa opened with a 70. I didn't play great in China but I've had a week off and (have been) just sort of reflecting on things. "I need them to go in if I want to win the tournament‚" he said.

"I only see hitting a three-iron out there and it was a little into the breeze and I knew I had to hit a good three-iron and probably leave myself with a five-iron in".

"Shooting 68 or 69 today would have been great, but unfortunately that didn't work out, but you have to be extremely precise on this course".

Latest News