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10 November 2018, 10:09 | Anna Jefferson
Star attraction Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland could manage only a 71 at the Gary Player Country Club in northwestern South Africa, leaving him eight shots adrift of the 2017 Masters champion.
McIlroy's mood was in direct contrast to that of Sergio Garcia, who has seemed a Masters champion reborn since receiving that supposedly controversial wildcard pick from Europe captain Thomas Bjorn at the start of September.
Garcia, who started day three one ahead of home player Louis Oosthuizen, led by four after eight holes but a closing bogey cut his advantage to two shots over the South African.
Garcia - a victor 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. It's not ideal to see three-putts, but some of the pins were nearly impossible to get to and when you leave yourself 20 or 25 feet putting over hills then it is going to happen sometimes. I didn't play great in China but I've had a week off and (have been) just sort of reflecting on things.
"Shooting 68 or 69 today would have been great, but unfortunately that didn't work out, but you have to be extremely precise on this course".
Oosthuizen, who began the day five behind Garcia, made the quick start he needed with three birdies in the first four holes.
Fisher's hopes quickly faded after racking up a quintuple-bogey from the trees at the par-five 15th, as Oosthuizen cancelled out a double-bogey at the eighth with an eagle at the 10th and picked up another shot at the par-five 14th.
But an eagle on the 10th and birdies on 14 and 15 elevated the 2010 Open Championship victor up the leaderboard on a hard scoring day with players hindered by a swirling breeze. There's a few I feel like I could have challenged a bit more for.
Defending champion Branden Grace of South Africa shot a 71 to trail Garcia by six strokes. "If you do that you give yourself a chance". It's going to take two really low ones to get into contention, but hopefully I keep climbing the leaderboard and making birdies.
"It's a tournament I've always wanted to play as a kid and came here plenty of times with the family to watch", he said.
"If I can tidy that up tomorrow I should be alright, but obviously I'm pretty disappointed right now", said McIlroy.
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