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Friday, 19 March 2010
Alfred Dunhill Championships - Round Two  (Getty Images)
Alfred Dunhill Championships - Round Two (Getty Images)

Spaniard Pablo Martin extended his lead at the Alfred Dunhill Championship over the front nine of his third round at Leopard Creek.

Starting the day four clear of home favourite Ernie Els and Italy’s Edoardo Molinari - a winner in four of his last six events - Martin picked up shots on the second and sixth to complete an outward 33.

That took him to 15 under for the week, stretching his lead to five shots over a group of players that included South African Darren Fichardt (67) and France’s Michael Lorenzo-Vera (66). On the course Jacques Blaauw, Dane Anders Hansen and Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin were also ten under.

Els had dropped back to eight under as he goes in search of a first tournament win of 2009, while Molinari endured strife on the ninth and ran up a double bogey six to leave him seven under.

Martin first came to prominence when he became the first amateur to win an event in European Tour history two years ago.

The 23 year old has not had the smoothest of rides since then, however, and admitted after taking a halfway lead that he had seen this event as a chance to have a holiday in South Africa after securing his playing card in the closing weeks of The 2009 Race to Dubai.

The pressure of trying for his first professional win did not affect Martin in the early stages in South Africa.

Els' problems began when he three-putted the third, missing from less than three feet.

He had matched Martin's birdie on the previous hole and when he came back from his slip with birdies at the fifth and sixth, almost holing-in-one at the second of those, he appeared back on track.

But the former Open Championship and US Open Championship winner bogeyed for the next three holes for a bitterly disappointing outward 36.

Molinari, whose recent wins included the Omega Mission Hills World Cup with his brother Francesco, drove into trouble on the ninth, dropping him from joint second to 19th.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MARTIN BENAVIDES, PabloESP18-17
2SCHWARTZEL, CharlRSA18-16
3HANSEN, AndersDEN18-14
T4MAYBIN, GarethNIR18-12
T4STERNE, RichardRSA18-12
T4ROCK, RobertENG18-12
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