Friday, 19 March 2010
Joburg Open 2009 - Round Three  (Getty Images)
Joburg Open 2009 - Round Three (Getty Images)

Charl Schwartzel, Andrew McLardy and David Drysdale share the lead going into the final round of the Joburg Open after the trio finished a rain affected day three on 11 under par.

A second consecutive day of lightning and rain meant that three hours were lost in two separate interruptions at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, but it did not stop South African Schwartzel from producing a sizzling eight under 63.

His countryman McLardy and Scotsman Drysdale, who led at the halfway stage, were less impressive, though, with both picking up birdies at the last for rounds of 69 and 71 respectively, to ensure a share of the lead.

Retief Goosen, Joakim Haeggman and Anders Hansen lead the chasing pack at ten under, with no fewer than seven players a further stroke back.

But it was Schwartzel who made the biggest move of the day in an eventful round that included an astonishing ten birdies, a hole in one, two bogeys and also a double bogey as he ripped through the East Course.

He picked up seven shots through his opening ten holes, before a double bogey on the par four 11th was followed by a sublime seven iron on next hole - the par three 205 yard 12th - that dropped ten centimetres from the cup and rolled in.

The World Number 68 said: "What a day! The first ten holes, I felt pretty flawless. Nothing could go wrong, I was hitting the ball close, I wasn't making any long putts, I was just hitting it four foot from the hole every time.

"You know, seven under, I was thinking maybe I could make 59. And that came to a quick halt on the very next hole. I made double and then I was sort of almost ready to walk off the golf course right there.

"But then on the next hole I made a hole in one and was celebrating. So it was really nice.

"My rain delay went well. I managed to make my two birdies which just put a smile on my face."

Two time major winner Goosen was faultless through his third round, firing a six under round of 65 at the co-sanctioned European Tour and Sunshine Tour event and was especially impressive at the turn where he picked up four birdies in six holes between holes eight and 13.

He said: "Yeah, it was good coming off the back nine. The first two rounds I had bad back nines. I had good front nines then blowing it on the back nine, so it was good to get a nice finish in.

"It's a great golf course and the first four holes are the toughest you will find on any golf course. I got through those in par and then it was good to get a couple of birdies going on the par fives.

"It's going to be an exciting start tomorrow. The first four holes I must try to be par or make one shot better, then I can gain on the field."

Hansen, who followed his 71 and 68 on the opening two days with a 64, said: "I was trying to get there, somewhat closer to them (the leaders).

"I was a bit far behind, especially after the first round when I had a terrible start. But I got myself back into the tournament so we'll see what happens."

Defending champion Richard Sterne managed two birdies in his last two holes to move to six under and keep his hopes of winning a third consecutive European Tour title alive.

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