Johannesburg – Sweden's Henrik Stenson held on to his lead with a third round 69 in the South African Open at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate north east of Johannesburg on Saturday.
The long-hitting Stenson moved to a 16 under total to maintain the lead in the co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour event.
Stenson leads by three from George Coetzee who earlier made nine birdies and an eagle on his way to a course record nine-under par 63 which leaves him well-placed on 13 under for a Sunday assault.
Also on 13 under is Swede Magnus Carlsson Stenson, who played his opening five holes in level par, before reeling off three birdies in a row from the seventh hole.
On the back nine he managed a birdie on the par three 15th, but dropped a shot on the par five 16th after he bunkered his tee shot.
Stenson came straight back with birdie on 17 to regain his three-stroke advantage.
“Overall I'm happy, I'm in the same position I started even though I got George breathing down my neck and Magnus,” said Stenson after his round.
“I'm still in good shape going into the last round. I'm fairly with the way I played today, I thought I played all right.
“I got a good stretch there in the middle of the round on the front nine – made birdies on seven, eight nine – and things were going well.”
Stenson said he would be wary of Coetzee in the final round.
“Three shots is enough if you're playing the last hole hopefully, but it's not going to be decided until late.
“George was on fire today, sometimes it's hard to follow up a low round with another low round, but he's playing well so I need to watch out.”
Coetzee started the day at four under, and despite two bogies in a scorecard which included just six pars, was able to move into contention.
Coetzee began his round with two birdies in a row starting on the first. On the par-four fourth, he made eagle by holing his approach from the fairway.
“Even after four holes today I still didn't really start thinking about the number that I could shoot,” said Coetzee after his round.
“I just gave it the best I could. Luckily enough for me I did get the birdies I needed.”
Coetzee attributed his record score to maintaining his focus better than he has in the past.
“I've been working very hard on keeping myself in the present and not worrying about the results and what you can get if you birdie every single coming hole,” he said.
“That kind of thing hasn't worked for me in the past and I'm sure it will never work in the future.
“Even though I made that bogey I felt I handled it a lot better and just waited for my opportunities.” – Sapa