George Coetzee’s bogey-free 67 carried him back to the top of the leaderboard after the penultimate round of the PGA Championship at St Francis Links.
Two birdies on the front nine and three coming in, two of them back to back on the 12th and 13th holes, lifted Coetzee to 11 under par for the tournament and he is one stroke clear of Rhys West, who shot a 68.
Second-round leader Casey Jarvis posted a 71 on Saturday and is on nine under par, together with Stefan Wears-Taylor (67), Jake Redman (68) and Hennie Otto (69).
“It wasn’t really my plan to not get any bogeys, I just wanted to play good golf,” Coetzee said. “This course has some teeth and you have to pick those parts where you can be aggressive and where you can’t be aggressive.
“I think I balanced that out quite well, I made pars on the tough holes and birdies on some of the easier holes. Being experienced is more about what you do than what you know.
“But it does help that I am more conservative on a course that I don’t know that well, I kind of stick to how the course wants me to play.
“I think only Tiger Woods really knew how to win, the rest of us are all learning as we go along. I’ve won a few tournaments, but there’s no pattern to it, no magic recipe.”
Overnight leader Jarvis had two eagles on the front nine, on the par-five 3rd and then holing out with his second on the par-four 5th hole, but after a double-bogey six on the par-four 15th he surrendered the lead to Coetzee.
There are also four golfers on seven under par who will be chasing after glory in the final round on Sunday – last week’s winner of the Vodacom Origins of Golf final Combrinck Smit (66), Luke Jerling (67), Peter Karmis (67) and Martin Vorster (71).
But after all the titles he has won, including the Vodacom Origins of Golf series event at De Zalze in August, the 36-year-old Coetzee has clear aims for the final round.
“I will just be trying to make good decisions, try to play decent golf and be excited about playing under pressure,” Coetzee said.