Jason Scrivener Starts Well In Important Week At Sun City

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

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

The Spaniard, a two-time victor of the event, registered eight birdies in his bogey-free round at Gary Player Country Club.

Fox mixed three birdies, and an eagle - on the par five 10th - with three bogeys, and is tied with South African Branden Grace.

Back to South Africa, where Garcia's lead was the biggest first-round advantage since Arjun Atwal led by four at the Mauritius Open last November.

Rory McIlroy is one of three players along with Li Haotong and Lucas Bjerregaard competing at Sun City who still have a chance of winning the Race to Dubai and ending the season as European No. 1, although their hopes appear to be slipping away.

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McIlroy missed the fairway off the tee on 17 and then found a bunker.

So Garcia, who won at Sun City in 2001 and 2003, finished with a one-under-par 71, inching him to nine-under-par overall, with Louis Oosthuizen closing in, a brilliant 67 on Friday leaving South Africa's highest-ranked golfer (39) just one shot behind.

Race to Dubai leader Francesco Molinari and second-placed Tommy Fleetwood aren't playing in Sun City. He began with a birdie and twice reeled off three in a row.

"Like I said earlier, it's very important to keep the ball in play as much as possible here and that's what I was trying to do when I didn't feel comfortable with the driver, because if it got too narrow, I hit something less than that and tried to play the hole maybe a little bit tougher and realise those things".

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"I'm super excited to be back here", he said during the ceremony. It's the first tournament that I came to watch live and watch my heroes play. I probably wasn't swinging unbelievably, but I kept it under control. "It's never easy, but I've done it before so hopefully I can do it again".

Garcia is seeking a second straight win after triumphing at home at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters last month, and a victory by the Spaniard would be the second wire-to-wire success of the season after Eddie Pepperell at the British Masters.

"I'm coming here with the goal that if I can get into that final group on Thursday with Frankie next week, that would be a good start", said McIlroy, who has not won a European Tour event since the 2016 Irish Open.

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