Sergio Garcia one shot ahead of Louis Oosthuizen in Sun City

McIlroy is aiming to win the Race to Dubai for the fourth time

Sergio Garcia has already opened up a significant lead at the Nedbank Challenge at Sun City in South Africa, his opening round of 64 his best start at Sun City since his win here in 2001 before the event became a European Tour title.

Two-time victor Garcia leads the way by four shots after posting a superb eight-under 64 at the Gary Player Country Club, registering eight birdies in his bogey-free round.

But the Spaniard bogeyed two of his last three holes, three-putting the 18th to finish the day just a shot ahead of local favourite Louis Oosthuizen (67) on nine-under.

Four-time major victor Rory McIlroy, who needs a top-two finish to stay in with a chance of winning the Race to Dubai, is 10 shots off the pace on level par, after a one-over 73.

But after starting promisingly with birdies at the second and third, he missed too many fairways and mixed three bogeys with two birdies in an exasperating spell mid-round, even missing a two-foot tiddler for par at the eighth.

As Branden Grace handed the crystal trophy back to Nedbank Golf Challenge host Gary Player in a televised ceremony on Tuesday, he whispered to Player, "Hopefully we can keep it in South Africa again this week".

The 38-year-old, who is going for a second consecutive win, having triumphed at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters last month, said in quotes on the European Tour website yesterday: "It felt great".

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"This sort of round does not happen very often, I was very fortunate", said the 38-year-old Spanish victor of the 2017 Masters after his bogey-free round.

New Zealand's Ryan Fox however has made a good start with a round of 69 to be 2 under and in 11th place.

Frittelli carded a five-under on Friday‚ and is in a group that includes England's Lee Westwood and Aaron Rai‚ as well as Ireland's Shane Lowry.

England's Ross Fisher blazed his way eight-under for the round but came unstuck on the par-four 15th where he carded a nine.

World number six Rory McIlroy could only manage a level-par 72 after a double-bogey at the par-four 17th following a wayward drive.

But after driving into the trees on the 15th, the Englishman took six shots to reach the green and then three-putted for a nine.

He also birdied the first two holes and ended with a tally of seven birdies, offset by bogeys on two of the four par-threes.

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