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Lowry In The Hunt As Garcia Retains Lead In South Africa

It’s hotting up in Sun City as the Gary Player Country Club plays host to the penultimate event of the European Tour season.

This last Race To Dubai event before we end up in Dubai itself next week sees just 80 players in the field this week, meaning no weekend cut.

The event is no less competitive however, with the players angling to get into the top 60 who will take part in the lucrative series finale next week.

Sergio Garcia, whose season peaked conveniently at the Ryder Cup and his home event of the Andalucia Masters, which he won, held a four shot lead after day one.

Being so early in the tournament, it wasn’t a commanding one. He did shoot -1 to add to his excellent 64 yesterday to go to -9 overall, but he has been pegged back by home favourite and fellow Masters winner, Louis Ooosthuizen.

The South African negated a double bogey on hole eight with an eagle on ten, and five birdies either side contributed to a fine round of 67.

Also in the mix is Ireland’s Shane Lowry.

The Offaly man is tied for fourth after a second round 69, leaving him on -4 alongside Lee Westwood. Lowry made two birdies either side of a bogey on the difficult eighth hole, and is primed to add to his fine form which includes a runner up finish at the Andalucia, sixth at the Portugal Masters, and 14th last week in Turkey.

Rory McIlroy is also under par for the event at -1, but similar to much of his season, it could have been so much better.

A double bogey on 17 yesterday derailed his first round. A better start to his second one would follow today, with two birdies in the first three holes.

After a dropped shot a few holes later, this attempt on seven found the cup.

But bogeys on holes eight and 13 would only be matched by one gained stroke elsewhere, with a quiet final stretch seeing the former world number one saunter his way to a 71. McIlroy needs at least a runner up place here to stand a chance of winning the Race to Dubai, so this weekend will largely determine where he ends up come the season’s end.

Padraig Harrington and Paul Dunne are battling at the other end of the rankings, at 88th and 53rd respectively.

The Dubliner is better placed here on +2, while the latter is struggling at +5 despite actually shooting under par today – a triple bogey and six singles undid his tournament on Thursday.

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Author: Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.