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Saturday 24 February 2018

Charl Schwartzel to take one-shot lead into final round of South African Open

Charl Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the South African Open after a third-round 69 kept the tournament favourite narrowly ahead of the chasing pack in Ekurhuleni.

The former Masters champion began the day level with Marco Crespi and ended it leading the Italian by a single stroke after signing for a three-under-par round comprising five birdies and two bogeys.

Crespi signed for a 70 at the Glendower Golf Club after trading four birdies against two bogeys, and will tee off on Sunday tied for second place on 14 under alongside Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen (69).

With blustery conditions affecting the later starters, Schwartzel was pleased that he was able to do enough to keep his nose in front.

"It was a bit up and down but I think I did what I needed to do," he told europeantour.com. "You always think some things could have been better.

"I had a chance to separate myself from the field a little bit at 12, 13 with two birdie opportunities, but the greens are starting to speed up and there are a few bumpy spots around the holes. Sixty-nine overall is a good round.

"Like I said, it was a bit up and down; there were some bad swings and a few good ones but it's now all done."

South Africa's Hennie Otto was the star performer on day three, shooting a seven-under-par 65 to move to 13 under overall, while Christiaan Basson (71), Alejandro Canizares (69) and Andrea Pavan (68) were in a three-way tie for fifth place on 11 under.

Sweden's Magnus A Carlsson and South African Jaco van Zyl were also men on the move, each shooting 66 to move to 10 under and nine under respectively, and similar efforts on Sunday could see them come into contention.

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