SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) — Sergio Garcia flew into a four-shot lead at the Nedbank Golf Challenge after an 8-under 64 on Thursday secured the biggest first-round advantage on the European Tour for a year.
Garcia, twice a Sun City winner 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.
The lead was the biggest first-round advantage since Arjun Atwal led by four at the Mauritius Open last November.
Rory McIlroy, one of five players with a chance of being crowned European No. 1 at the end of the season, shot a level-par 72 after a double-bogey six on his second-to-last hole spoiled his round.
McIlroy missed the fairway off the tee on No. 17 and then found a bunker. He ended the day in a tie for 21st.
Li Haotong, who can also win the Race to Dubai at next week’s Tour Championship, carded a 71.
A third player capable of ending the year as Europe’s No. 1, Lucas Bjerregaard, was 3-over.
Race to Dubai leader…