Sergio Garcia goes two clear of Louis Oosthuizen in South Africa

The Irish challenge fails to spark in the third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge

Sergio Garcia  assists Louis Oosthuizen  with taking a drop on the eighth hole during the third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge  in Sun City, South Africa. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Sergio Garcia assists Louis Oosthuizen with taking a drop on the eighth hole during the third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

Sergio Garcia continued his remarkable recent run of form as he opened up a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

The Spaniard’s play in the early part of 2018 was so poor that some saw him as a risky selection for a Ryder Cup wild card but he has not looked back since being selected by Europe captain Thomas Bjorn.

He finished in the top 10 at the Portugal Masters, won three points in the victory at Le Golf National to become the competition’s all-time highest points scorer and then successfully defended his title at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters.

The 2013 Masters champion led after days one and two in Sun City and a third-round 71 moved him to 10 under, two shots clear of fellow Major winner Louis Oosthuizen.

England’s Lee Westwood was then at seven under alongside Belgian Thomas Detry and Finn Mikko Korhonen, with another Englishman in Ross Fisher a further shot back.

“It’s going to be tough, there’s no doubt about that,” admitted Garcia. “But it’s great to come with some good momentum, playing nicely and in the lead. It should be a fun day.

“I think if I can manage to shoot somewhere in the 60s, maybe 70 might be enough. I’m going to see if I can shoot below 70 and see if that’s good enough.”

Rory McIlroy plays a shot during the third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy plays a shot during the third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Garcia – a winner at this event in 2001 and 2003 – birdied the par-five second and hit a stunning approach into the third for back-to-back birdies and a three-shot lead.

He got in tree trouble on the 13th but birdied the 17th after another excellent approach before sending his second into the stands for a closing bogey.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, made two birdies and two bogeys to lead the home charge after a 72 while Westwood – winner here in 2010 and 2011 – signed for a 69.

Fisher dropped eight shots in his last four holes on Friday but recovered admirably with a third-round 67.

Shane Lowry fell down the leaderboard after carding a two-over 74 to end the day on two under.

The Offaly golfer birdied the second hole but bogeys on the fifth, 11th and the par-five 14th saw him drop into a share of 11th position.

Rory McIlroy made bogeys on three of the first seven holes but birdied the ninth and added a further gain on the 14th in a one-over 73 to finish to move back to level-par .

Pádraig Harrington included a double-bogey in a two-over 74 to move back to four over, while Paul Dunne is a shot further back after a level-par 72.

LEADERBOARD

(British and Irish unless stated, par 72)

206 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 64 71 71

208 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 69 67 72

209 Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 68 70 71, Thomas Detry (Bel) 75 66 68, Lee Westwood 71 69 69

210 Ross Fisher 71 72 67

212 Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 74 67 71

213 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 68 73 72, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 72 71 70, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 69 75 69

214 Matt Wallace 69 72 73, Shane Lowry 71 69 74, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 75 69 70

215 Andrew Johnston 73 69 73, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 69 76 70, Branden Grace (Rsa) 70 71 74, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 73 67 75, Aaron Rai 72 68 75, Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 71 73

216 Haotong Li (Chn) 71 70 75, Rory McIlroy 72 71 73, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 68 78 70, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 71 70 75, Ashun Wu (Chn) 69 73 74, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 76 69 71, Oliver Fisher 75 70 71, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 77 69 70

217 Andy Sullivan 69 74 74, Joost Luiten (Ned) 72 75 70, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 70 73 74, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 72 74 71, Chris Paisley 72 75 70, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 74 72 71

218 Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 74 73 71, Renato Paratore (Ita) 72 71 75, Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 74 70 74

219 Robert Rock 75 73 71, Sam Horsfield 73 72 74, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 74 68 77, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 73 74 72, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 77 69 73, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 77 73 69, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 72 71 76

220 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 75 70 75, Paul Waring 72 76 72, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 71 78 71, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 74 71 75, George Coetzee (Rsa) 73 79 68, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 74 75 71, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 76 69 75, Jordan Smith 79 69 72, Pádraig Harrington 73 73 74

221 Paul Dunne 78 71 72, Danny Willett 78 71 72, Lee Slattery 74 73 74

222 Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 76 77 69, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 75 74 73, Stephen Gallacher 77 75 70, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 75 71 76, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 74 73 75, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 74 79 69

223 Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 78 73 72, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 75 75 73, Richard McEvoy 72 76 75, Gavin Green (Mal) 75 70 78

224 Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 71 76 77, Tom Lewis 75 71 78, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 76 73 75, Matthew Southgate 80 73 71

229 Ashley Chesters 78 73 78

231 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 74 74 83

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