The first hole at Randpark’s Firethorn course where the Joburg Open is taking place. Photo: @Sunshine_Tour via Twitter

South African golf’s ‘Rambo’ – Christiaan Bezuidenhout – used, like the fictional character played by Sylvester Stallone, his skills in many aspects of survival and combat (with club in hand) to shoot a 66 on Randpark’s Firethorn course Saturday to be well placed on 11-under 204 going into Sunday’s final round of the Joburg Open.

“I started my round at the 10th, which I parred, and then knocked in a 40-footer for a birdie three at the 11th which got me going,” said the 23-year-old who as a little guy earned his nickname from a kindergarten teacher who was bowled over by his adventurous spirit.

On Saturday, there was adventure on the golf course as he raced to the turn in five-under-par 31 before going one under on the inward loop, which in his case was holes 1-9. At the par-5 fourth he pushed his drive deep into trees on the right, meaning he had to chip out sideways onto the fairway. Then, by his own admission, he hit a “terrible” three-wood 50 metres short of the green before using those many aspects of survival he has as a golfer to pitch beautifully to about four feet from the cup and roll in the putt in to save par.

“Rambo” is an interesting case study because he is one of South Africa’s exceptional talents, who lost his way a tad early in 2017. But he’s improved since then and, recently in Spain, he battled gamely through the ultra-tough European Tour Q-School to earn one of the coveted 2018 playing cards on offer for the top 25 players and ties.

“I ended up making birdie at the last hole by the skin of my teeth to just make it into the 25th spot. Now I’m set for next year in Europe and it’s a great feeling.”

So, like the fictional Rambo, Bezuidenhout seems to know just how to save his bacon when the pressure’s on.

IOL Sport

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