Johannesburg – Jean Hugo shot a commanding bogey-free round of 63 on Thursday, handing him a one stroke lead going into Friday's final round of the Origins of Golf event at the Langebaan Country Estate.
Taking advantage of the good weather after a brutal opening day, Hugo climbed to nine-under-par for the tournament and came within sight of a record eighth title on the series.
Attie Schwartzel is his nearest challenger, with Heinrich Bruiners and Andrew Curlewis both four strokes behind on five-under.
Hugo's 63 was a return to form for a golfer who has dominated this series over the years, but who has recently struggled to make an impact.
“I think I've just been making the wrong decisions out there, attacking when I shouldn't and playing defensively when I shouldn't,” Hugo said on Thursday.
“But it's always a learning curve in this game.
“It was obviously a little easier than the first day. I putted very well, and a low round was out there.”
Hugo was two-under through his first five holes, but gained momentum over the turn when he made five birdies in seven holes.
“That kind of momentum is nice. I'm the kind of player that still just sticks to my gameplan though,” Hugo added.
“I try not to get ahead of myself.”
While his course management was impressive, Hugo said it was a clinical putting performance that gave him the edge over the rest of the field.
“The greens are tricky and some of the putts can get away from you because of the slopes here.
“But I had a lot of good looks at the lines today and I had a lot of chances, which I took.”
Schwartzel, the leader after the first round, kept himself in contention with a solid 67 to head into the final day on eight-under.
“The first day we were just trying to make pars in the bad weather, while today you felt like you could really go for the birdies,” Schwartzel said.
“But Jean will be tough to catch.” – Sapa