GEORGE - Swede Philip Eriksson shrugged off two consecutive bogeys on Saturday on his way to a six-under 67 on The Links at Fancourt as he finished the third round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am in a share of the lead.
He made bogey on 14 and 15 in a round which had reached eight-under through 12 on the challenging layout. He shares the 54-hole lead with Jaco van Zyl after the players have played a round on each of the three Fancourt courses – The Links, Montagu and Outeniqua. The final round will be played at Montagu.
“Six-under is always a really good score, but I was eight-under through 13, so I was not really that happy with the finishing holes,” said Eriksson. “But you take what you get.”
And what he got was a solid addition to his opening rounds of 66 on Montagu and 67 on Outeniqua, despite the disappointment of the finish. “With the two bogeys, I just missed one tee shot,” he said.
“It went just off the fairway into a bunker and it plugged just in the lip there. I couldn’t really do much. I missed a short putt for par after I hit a good wedge shot there. Then I three-putted the next hole after a good wedge shot which was just too long really. Then I missed two birdie putts coming down the stretch.
“It’s tough when you’re eight-under to keep pushing to go 10 or 12-under. I wouldn’t really say I tried to push myself too hard. I hit some really good shots down the stretch. There were two iron shots I wasn’t really happy with, but other than that, I hit pretty much everything pretty solid today. I barely missed a shot today.
“I’m happy with all parts of my game, really. I’m putting solidly – I hit it on the right line and everything. I didn’t make that many long putts, but there were a couple of good ones from two or three metres. My driver is actually very long this week, and that’s pretty sweet. I wasn’t planning to go for the par-fives this week, but I’ve been hitting it so far and on the fairways, I kind of had to go for them.
“I don’t know what is the difference with the driver. The practice round was just terrible – I was hitting the driver everywhere. But I suppose it was raining and a bit colder then, so maybe it was just the good weather that helped me.”
Van Zyl, who has rounds of 65-66-69, with his 69 coming on Montagu, is holding it together in a week which marks a return to form after a difficult return from a long period off for injury. “My scores are trending in the wrong direction,” he laughed. “But I’m playing nicely. It was a little scruffy towards the end today, but Montagu is really a good challenge. I gave myself chances, but no real close opportunities.”
Van Zyl and Eriksson have a two-stroke edge over Jbe’ Kruger, with Riekus Nortje and Dean Burmester lurking dangerously just one shot further back.
All of the top five except Eriksson played the third round on Montagu, so they have a little momentum on that course going into the final round.
But that’s not bothering the Swede. “Montagu is a really good course,” he said. “I like all three of them, but Montagu is a really strategic one. You don’t need to hit driver that much. I didn’t hit it that much in my first round, so I’m probably just going to stick with the same game-plan and just make the same number of birdies I’ve been making. If I play the way I’ve been playing, I won’t shoot over par.
“But it’s the final round and you’ve got to keep your mind right and just close the deal.”
African News Agency (ANA)