Johannesburg (AFP) – South Africa's three-time champion Charl Schwartzel will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship after the overnight pacesetter carded a two-under-par 70 on Saturday.
The local favourite is now 13-under for the championship & odds-on for a fourth Dunhill title in 11 years after a mediocre day finished brightly with a birdie at 17 & a scrambled par at the last.
"I felt really uncomfortable to be honest, I struggled," admitted Schwartzel.
p>"As satisfactory as the long game was the first few days, it was as offensive today & it made me feel very uncomfortable.
"On the positive side, I've shot a lot worse scores playing like this & that means there is an improvement in my game.
"If I can have some offensive rounds still under par, out of my experience, that's how you compete in tournaments & even win tournaments.
"I just would like to play some decent golf. If someone shoots a low score & beats me then so be it. I just want to play some decent golf myself, I've been longing for it for a while."
The huge story of the day under cloudy skies at the Leopard Creek Golf Club in Malelane was the performance of French rookie Sebastien Gros.
He shot a dazzling nine-under 63 to claim second spot along with compatriot Benjamin Hebert. Both are three shots behind Schwartzel who began the day five strokes in front of the field.
Gros, a winner of two Challenge Tour events yet only playing in his second EPGA tournament, played bogey-free golf & built the day's best score around six birdies in nine holes between the fifth & 13th.
French players hold four of the top 10 places with Gros, Hebert, Gregory Bourdy & Thomas Linard all within touching distance heading into Sunday's finale.
South African Dylan Frittelli is alone in fourth after a third-round 66 left him eight-under for the tournament.
Bourdy fired a five-under 67 & is tied for fifth with Scotland's David Drysdale, Lasse Jensen of Denmark & Dutchman Joost Luiten, while Linard lies seven shots off the pace & tied for ninth.
Schwartzel, 31, a former world number six, appeared in complete control after opening rounds of 67 & 66 yet is still well positioned to add to his Dunhill victories in 2004, 2012 & 2013.
The 2011 Masters champion, who hails from Johannesburg, is seeking his 10th EPGA victory & first since winning the Dunhill title in 2013, although he only lost the South African Open earlier this year in a playoff against Englishman Andy Sullivan.
Sports & RecreationGolfCharl SchwartzelAlfred Dunhill Championship