Sergio Garcia opened with a bogey-free 64 to take a commanding four-shot lead after day one of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
The 38-year old Spaniard finished his first day at Gary Player Country Club with 10 pars and eight birdies, highlighted by a hat trick of gains on Nos. 15, 16, and 17 to secure the first-round lead by four shots.
“It felt great,” said Garcia, who won in his last start at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters.
“I rolled the ball nicely, I made some good putts here and there. It was one of those rounds where things happened nicely to me.
“I think I played very smart, I probably wasn’t swinging unbelievably but I kept it under control and kept the ball in play all the time which is difficult to do here.
“I managed to guess some of the winds here right and that is very, very difficult. When you can do that here, it’s nice to be able to shoot a score like this.”
A group of three players were at 4 under including 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, Finn Mikko Korhonen and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera. One further back was a logjam of six more players tied at 3 under, headlined by 2010 Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen, also of South Africa.
2018 NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE
TOP 5 LEADERS: ROUND ONE
1. Sergio Garcia -8
2. Mike Lorenzo-Vera -4
2. Mikko Korhonen -4
2. Charl Schwartzel -4
5. Ashun Wu -3
5. Benjamin Hebert -3
5. Andy Sullivan -3
5. Matt Wallace -3
5. Louis Oosthuizen -3
5. Jason Scrivener -3