Nedbank Golf Challenge: Sergio Garcia leads as first round concludes
Last Updated: 06/12/13 11:12am
Sergio Garcia led the Nedbank Challenge after the first round was completed
Sergio Garcia moved into a slender lead when the delayed first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge was completed on a sombre morning in Sun City.
Players and fans alike in South Africa were understandably muted following Thursday night's news of the passing of Nelson Mandela.
Home favourites Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen led the tributes to the former South Africa president and both admitted that Friday would prove a difficult day for them.
First round leaderboard:
(Rsa unless stated)
-6 S Garcia (Spn)
-5 J Donaldson (Wal)
-5 G Fdez-Castano (Spn)
-5 T Bjorn (Den)
-4 L Donald (Eng)
-4 C Schwartzel
"It is going to be a tough day for the whole country," Els said.
The players had returned early to finish off an opening round that had been curtailed by inclement weather on Thursday.
Garcia carded a six-under-par 66 to lead by one shot from fellow Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Welshman Jamie Donaldson, with Luke Donald and local favourite Charl Schwartzel a shot further back.
Donald had led on five under after 11 holes when play was abandoned for the day on Thursday after a second thunderstorm hit the course, the former world No 1 having raced to the turn in 31 with an eagle and three birdies.
The 35-year-old was unable to maintain such form when play resumed at 7.30am local time on Friday, the players observing a minute's silence and wearing black ribbons as a mark of respect.
A bogey on the 16th was Donald's only deviation from par, allowing Ryder Cup team-mate Garcia to take over at the top of the leaderboard thanks to a strong finish.
Garcia had been one-over-par after six holes, but picked up seven birdies in his next 11 holes to boost his chances of winning the title for a third time.
Garcia paid his own tribute to Mandela after finishing his first round, saying: "It's sad to lose Madiba, not only for South Africa, but for the world.
"He was such a great man and did so many great things for humanity. He was someone to look up to."