South Africa’s hope to reclaim the famed Alfred Dunhill Championship trophy took a dive on Saturday afternoon when Branden Grace found the water on the final hole, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Even with Pablo Larrazabal losing his cool in the heat of the African sun, the challenge to topple the 36-hole leader came up short in round three.
Grace, playing alongside the fiery Spaniard, began the final hole of the day three back and after a perfect drive down the iconic finishing hole was ‘forced’ to go for it in two with a little over 211 metres to the flag, which was perched on the front portion of the green.
His effort came up 10m or so short as he struck it a little thin over a slight downhill lie.
Grace’s failure to pitch and putt to save par combined with another stroke of luck from the leader, who overdrew his drive and watched as the ball pitched into the bunker but flew out to a safe lie in the rough, had him surrender his position.
The closing bogey dropped the South African, who won here in 2015, to third after carding a 71 with Wil Besseling in second three back.
Larrazabal will have the night to sleep off his steaming temper which flared up on the penultimate hole of the day and continued after his drive on the last.
Past the challenges of Besseling and Grace, Zander Lombard is six back with four-time winner Charl Schwartzel seven back.
The leader made three bogeys on Saturday but enjoys a healthy lead.
Grace had two drops before his final hole water ball. He is by no means out of it when it comes to chasing down the Spaniard – it just got a lot, lot harder.