Friday, 19 March 2010
South African Open Championship - Round Three  (Getty Images)
South African Open Championship - Round Three (Getty Images)

Ernie Els staked his claim for a fifth South African Open Championship with a brilliant final round 64 at Pearl Valley Golf Estates to take the clubhouse lead.

The World Number Nine looked to have dropped out of contention during the third round when two triple bogeys contributed to a five over par 77 which left him nine shots off the lead.

But Els - looking to become the eighth South African winner of the event in a row - responded in fine style with nine birdies and a single bogey to set the clubhouse target at 13 under par.

He said: “I am playing good, you know, but I have to get myself ready to play and I wasn't ready to play yesterday for some reason, not sure why.

“I have had a great week. We have a great sponsor here now and a great golf course and the people here are wonderful.”

European Challenge Tour graduate Gareth Maybin was leading the way at 14 under after nine holes.

The Northern Irish golfer posted four birdies and two bogeys prior to the turn to leapfrog playing partner Lee Westwood.

The World Number Ten was back at 11 under after four bogeys and a single birdie on the front nine.

Also on the course and going well was George Coetzee, who was at 13 under after 11 holes.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1STERNE, RichardRSA18-14
T1MAYBIN, GarethNIR18-14
T3WESTWOOD, LeeENG18-13
T3ELS, ErnieRSA18-13
T3MCILROY, RoryNIR18-13
T6FINCH, RichardENG18-12
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