Johannesburg – Jean Hugo moved into first place at the Mopani Copper Mines Zambia Open with a third-round 64 and began planning his route to a 15th Sunshine Tour victory on Saturday.
“All-in-all I played solidly, putted well and had a bit of luck on my side today. Sunday will be different. If you fall a few shots behind then you have to attack, if not then you steady the ship and try to play like I have over the last few days,” Hugo said after his round.
The Pretoria local was unbothered by a slow start to the third round and began firing with an eagle at the fifth hole.
The floodgates opened from there and Hugo made seven birdies over the next nine holes on his way to a 14-under-par total and a tie for the lead with Wallie Coetsee.
“At the fifth I had 112 metres into the breeze and hit a soft wedge,” said Hugo.
“It pitched about two metres in front of the hole and spun a bit left into the cup. It was nice to see that one go in and it was the catalyst for a good round.”
Hugo’s last victory was at the Origins of Golf Langebaan event in 2013, and Hugo has been made to wait 10 months since the prolific winner last lifted a trophy.
“It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow, but a good day. I’ll try to focus on my own game and see how well I can play. A lot of my round tomorrow will depend on how aggressive I feel on the tee box,” Hugo added.
Coetsee last won in 1997 and has been a Sunshine Tour journeyman for 17 years since then.
Rounds of 65, 69, 68 at Nkana Golf Club have given him a share of the lead and he has no intention of fading away come Sunday.
“I’m excited to be in contention this week and hopefully I can produce something in the 60s and have a good chance tomorrow afternoon,” he said.
Last week’s Royal Swazi Open champion Danie van Tonder was tied for second at the 54-hole mark. The 23-year-old was in form during the third round and shot a bogey-free 66 on Saturday to join Theunis Spangenberg in second place on 13-under-par.
“I’m keen for tomorrow and I want to put another win behind my name,” said Van Tonder.
“Once you win everyone gets behind you and that always helps. I’m young, but I try to work harder than anyone else and it pays off.”
Local hope Dayne Moore shot a respectable 70 to share 22nd on a four-under-par total. On Sunday the 21-year-old Zambian hopes to secure a top-10 finish in his national open. – Sapa