Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player
Gary Player CC, Sun City, South Africa 08 Nov 2018 - 11 Nov 2018
Friday, 09 November 2018
Sergio Garcia  (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia will take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player after a dramatic second day in Sun City.

The Spaniard entered round two of the seventh Rolex Series event of the season with a four-shot lead and extended that to five in the early stages before he was reeled in by local favourite Louis Oosthuizen.

Garcia signed for a 71 to move to nine under but fellow Major Champion Oosthuizen came home in 32 to sign for a 67 and emerge as the nearest challenger at Gary Player Country Club.

Finn Mikko Korhonen was then at six under, two shots clear of home favourite Dylan Frittelli, English pair Aaron Rai and Lee Westwood, and Ireland's Shane Lowry.

Both Garcia and Oosthuizen are looking for their first Rolex Series victories while Garcia could make it back-to-back wins after triumphing at the Anadalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by his own foundation last time out.

“The course is tough,” said Garcia. “It's not every day you're going to go out there and shoot 64, it doesn't work like that. I feel like I played quite well.

“Three three-putts, that's never ideal but on these greens it can happen. They are so quick and some of the pins are so tucked to the edges that it's difficult to hit it close to them. Other than that, I felt like I played well throughout the whole day.

“I stayed positive, I stayed calm. I wanted to shoot something below 70 and I felt like I had a chance of doing it, unfortunately it didn't work out but we're still in the lead. It's good.”

Oosthuizen has not finished lower than 14th in this event since it joined the European Tour International Schedule in 2013 and the 2010 Open Champion is in the hunt for win number nine.

In the quest to stay in the hunt for the Race to Dubai next week, Li Haotong and Lucas Bjerregaard both need a win but were six and ten shots back respectively, while Rory McIlroy - who needs a top-two finish - was at one under.

Oosthuizen got within four from ten feet at the first but Garcia holed a 24-footer on the same hole to briefly extend his lead to five.

A nice chip from Oosthuizen cut the gap but the pair were going blow-for-blow, with Garcia getting up and down from over the back of the second before Oosthuizen holed a mid-range putt for a third birdie in four holes on the par-three fourth.

A three-putt on the fifth cut Garcia's lead to three but he bounced back from 15 feet at the sixth.

Oosthuizen found huge trouble off the eighth tee after going right into the trees for a double-bogey but hit back with a stunning second and an eagle on the par-five tenth.

At that point Garcia was only two ahead of Ross Fisher who had picked up eight shots in his first 14 holes but the 2017 Masters Tournament Champion left himself 15 feet at the ninth for another birdie.

Fisher then took a nine on the 15th after finding the left trees en route to dropping eight shots in his last four holes.

Oosthuizen got up and down from off the back of the 14th and when Garcia three-putted the 13th, the South African was just three back.

A six-footer on the 15th cut the lead to two but Garcia hit back from similar range on the next before failing to get up and down from a bunker on the 16th and seeing his short par putt on the last take a full horseshoe.

Korhonen holed a six-footer on the first and hit a nice approach into the third but bogeys on the fifth, seventh and eighth sent him backwards. The Shot Clock Masters champion then took advantage of the par-five tenth and 14th before getting a nice bounce for another gain on the next.

Frittelli made seven birdies and two bogeys in a 67, Rai dropped a single shot in a 68, and Lowry and Westwood both signed for rounds of 69.

Defending champion Branden Grace, fellow South African Darren Fichardt, Belgian Thomas Detry, Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Italian Andrea Pavan and England's Matt Wallace were alongside Li at three under.

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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