Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player
Gary Player CC, Sun City, South Africa 08 Nov 2018 - 11 Nov 2018
Thursday, 08 November 2018
It's a hard golf course, I hung in there - Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel was happy to put his local knowledge to good use as he carded an opening 68 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player.

The South African has only twice gone lower at Gary Player Country Club in the five years since the event joined the European Tour International Schedule, finishing in the top 15 on four out of five occasions.

He turned in 35 but picked up three shots on the back nine on Thursday to sit in a share of second, four shots behind Sergio Garcia who recorded a remarkable bogey-free 64 in the seventh Rolex Series event of the season.

“It was great,” he said. “It's a hard golf course, the wind blew today and the start was difficult so I hung in there and managed to make two birdies in the last four holes which always helps.

“You never let up on this course, there's 72 holes to be played and you've got to stay committed and keep hitting good shots. 68 is a good score, if you can rattle a few of those off you'll be close at the end of the week.

“This golf course is one of those you need to play a lot, you need to get to know the wind. It's probably the most difficult course we play all year, regarding second shots.”

Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera was bogey-free in his 68 as he looks to turn near-misses into a first European Tour title in Sun City.

He lost a play-off at the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open and finished third at the European Masters, and he believes another big week is on its way.

“I'm really enjoying it because I feel like I'm playing well,” he said. “It's not far from having a really, really strong week soon so I'm looking forward to what is coming.

“Bogey-free and I only had to chip twice today so the long game is properly consistent so I'm very happy. The way I was hitting the ball today was a really good performance.

“I've been working really hard on my swing the last three or four days - even in Turkey when I was out of the tournament - I just searched for something that can make me hit the driver well and I think I found it. It makes it easier to come from the fairway.”

Mikko Korhonen provided plenty of footage for the highlight reel as he completed the group at four under.

The Finn had birdies on the second, sixth and tenth to go with a bogey on the ninth before sensationally chipping in for birdies on the 12th and last.

“I think those were the first two chip-ins this year,” he said. “Very nice.

“It's tough, I'm very pleased with the way I played. I hit a lot of fairways, hit the middle of the greens when I had to and created a few chances and made a few birdies.”

A Rolex Series Event

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
2GARCIA, SergioESP18-12
4FISHER, RossENG18-8
T5LI, HaotongCHN18-7

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