On a day when Gary Player arrived at the Investec South African Open, young South African Thriston Lawrence moved a step closer to joining the legend and other greats of the game as a winner of this historic title.
Lawrence heads into Sunday’s final round with a two-shot lead on 18 under par following a 67 on Saturday. His nearest challenger is Frenchman Clément Sordet on 16 under following a third-round 66, with Sweden’s Jens Fahrbring in third place on 12 under after a 69.
Lawrence’s putter was again the key to his success and kept him in a lead he has held since the first round.
“The putting has definitely been key,” he said. “It was good fun out there. It started off well with a birdie on the 1st and then I lost a bit of momentum around the turn. But yes, 18 under. I didn’t think the winning score would be 18 under to be honest, and now I’m there after three rounds.”
Lawrence won twice in his rookie season on the DP World Tour last year, becoming the first South African in history to win the Tour’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award.
And now he has the chance to add his name to one of the most historic trophies in world golf.
“It’s our country’s Open and I’m playing good golf. I’m enjoying it. We had a good crowd out there and I have most of my family here. It’s been fun.”
Sordet is also looking forward to a final round battle in a country where he won a Challenge Tour event earlier this year and experienced a trophy handover from an elephant.
“It’s been a lot of fun. I know Thriston is a really good player and he is playing well. It will be challenging to catch him but I’ll give it my best,” he said.
The talented amateur Christiaan Maas leads the race for the Freddie Tait Cup awarded to the leading amateur. Maas was right in the hunt for the main professional title at the start of the third round at only three shots off the lead. But a difficult third round of 72 dropped him to nine under par overall but still putting in a strong showing.