|Nedbank Challenge – second-round leaderboard|
|-9 S Garcia (Spa); -8 L Oosthuizen (SA); -6 M Korhonen (Fin); -4 D Frittelli (SA), A Rai (Eng), L Westwood (Eng), S Lowry (Eng) Selected others: -3 M Wallace (Eng); -2 A Johnston (Eng), M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -1 R McIlroy (NI), R Fisher (Eng), A Sullivan|
South African Louis Oosthuizen produced a strong back nine to card a five-under-par 67 and trail leader Sergio Garcia by one shot after round two of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City.
Garcia, 38, shot a first-round 64 but found the going tougher on Friday as he posted a 71 to reach nine under par at the Gary Player Country Club.
Garcia is eyeing a second win in a row after winning the Valderrama Masters.
Rory McIlroy fired a 71 and is tied for 19th place on one under par.
Oosthuizen is seeking a first win at a tournament he has long coveted, with Finland’s Mikko Korhonen (70) three shots back in third position.
Oosthuizen looked to be struggling after a double bogey on the eighth saw him turn at one under-par for the round.
But an eagle on the 10th and birdies on 14 and 15 elevated the 2010 Open champion up the leaderboard on a difficult day for scoring with a swirling breeze.
“I’m pretty happy with the round,” Oosthuizen told reporters.
“After eight I had a good run at a few holes. I feel like I’m playing nicely, I’m just trying to hit the fairways and the irons feel pretty good.
“You have to play the wind as you feel it because it is so inconsistent. It’s a golf course that you need to be patient around.”
At one stage Garcia led by five shots as he opened his round with birdies on the first two holes, but four bogeys, including the 18th, spoiled his day and allowed others to close in around him.
Garcia is aiming for a third victory in Sun City after previous triumphs in 2001 and 2003.
Ross Fisher (72) looked like he would be one of those before dropping an astonishing eight shots on his final four holes.
Fisher had eagled the second and picked up six more birdies to reduce Garcia’s lead to two shots.
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 bogeyed the final three holes as well.
He was by no means the only player to struggle on the 15th though as 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (78) needed nine shots to complete the hole.
World number six McIlroy saw his faint hopes of overhauling Francesco Molinari to win the Race to Dubai fade.
Eighth-placed McIlroy is almost £1.75m behind Molinari and needs to win at least one of the remaining two events to overhaul the Italian, who enjoys a lead of just under £1m from Ryder Cup partner and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood.
“I haven’t been giving myself good positions off the tee to give me chances with irons and get close enough to have a good look at birdies,” said McIlroy.
“I need to tidy up may game off the tee. If you do that you give yourself a chance.”