Argentine Ariel Canete and South African Andrew McLardy completed the delayed third round at the Joburg Open with matching six under par 65s, to stay at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final 18 holes at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
Canete stands on 15 under par 199, a stroke ahead of five-time Sunshine Tour winner McLardy, and is in with a golden chance of claiming his maiden European Tour title – and with it full playing rights.
The 31 year old finished 146th on the Order of Merit in 2006 and failed to regain his full playing privileges when he finished 53rd at the Qualifying School in San Roque in November, so victory in South Africa would be especially timely.
Thirty-six golfers returned to complete their third rounds early on Sunday morning after Saturday’s play was terminated in the early afternoon by lightning and thunderstorms, with Canete holding a one stroke lead over McLardy and joint second round leader Hennie Otto of South Africa.
Canete started Sunday’s action on the tenth, picked up his fourth birdie of the round on the 14th and then capped a fine morning’s work with birdies on the last two holes.
McLardy, who shot 63 on the first day, also completed his third round with six birdies and no bogeys.
Alex Haindl, a 23 year old South African who is 19th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, put himself into contention with a 66 that lifted him to 12 under par alongside Otto.