This is how South Africa’s nine golfers are faring as they head into Sunday’s final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.
1st (205): Zander Lombard retained his overnight lead, although saw it trimmed from two shots to one, after a fighting level-par 72 in the third round. He dropped three shots in three holes on the way to going out in 38 to slip out of the lead but came home in 34 to sit top of the leaderboard going into the final round. It’s his first NGC, although on a course that he knows well and calls ‘a home from home’.
3rd (206): Louis Oosthuizen looks set for his fourth consecutive top-10 finish but can he grab the elusive victory? The 23rd-ranked player in the world had opened with that 63 – the lowest score of the week – and followed up with a level-par 72 in tough conditions on Friday. On Saturday he had an up-and-down day, signing for a 71 that included three birdies and two bogeys – including at the par-four 15th for the second successive day.
T17th (213): Erik van Rooyen continued his good run of form with a two-under 70 after Friday’s one-over 73. The 29-year-old birdied Nos 2, 6 and 8 for an outward 33, but found trouble on the 10th to drop a shot. He pulled one back at the next par five (the 14th), but dropped two shots in his closing holes (he did birdie No 17) and will be rueing the way he finished off his round.
T25th (215): Christiaan Bezuidenhout had another rollercoaster round, but importantly finished it in the red after a 71 to go with his second-round 70, and he heads into the final round on one under overall. On Saturday he opened with two birdies, dropped a shot at the 4th, birdied Nos 6 and 7, dropped a shot at No 8 for an outward 34, made eagle at the 10th, bogeyed the 11th, birdied No 14, double-bogeyed No 15 and bogeyed No 16. Still keeping up? He parred his closing two holes for that 71.
T25th (215): George Coetzee. After that opening 69, he had let the momentum slip with a one-over 73 in the second round. On Saturday he again struggled to get going and made four bogeys – including at the 11th for the second day running – and three birdies for his second successive 73.
T45th (220): Justin Harding, playing in his first NGC, had blown out to a second-round 78 which scuppered any realistic hopes he had of a top-10 finish this week. However, he recovered well to score a third-round 70, and ended his day in style with a birdie at the par-five 9th (his 18th). The only bogey on his card was at the 18th (his ninth).
T51st (221): Ernie Els birdied the 500m par-five 10th (his opening hole) for the third successive time before making six straight pars. However, a dropped shot at the 18th (his ninth) had him turn in level par. Remarkably, the three-time champion parred all his holes coming home (Nos 1-9) for a level-par 72. He will still be rueing his second-round 79 which blew him off the leaderboard.
T51st (221): Branden Grace, the 2016 champion at the Gary Player Country Club, had combined for five over par by the halfway stage but managed to recover somewhat with a third-round 72. He made three birdies and three bogeys – two of them in successive holes at Nos 17 and 18 (his eighth and ninth for the day).
61st (225): Richard Sterne had started off his week so well, with a three-under-69, but was 10 shots worse in a second-round 79 and unable to stop the bleeding with a third-round 77 for a nine-over-par total. He actually started his Saturday well, making a birdie at the 10th (his opening hole) but had to wait until his closing hole (the 9th) for his next birdie. He also made five bogeys and a double-bogey) at the par-four 3rd hole.