Michael Hoey quickly set about chipping away at Ross Fisher’s five shot overnight advantage as the final round of the Tshwane Open began in Centurion.
Fisher’s third round 67 had seemingly put him on course for a fifth European Tour title and first since 2010, but his Northern Irish playing partner had other ideas.
The 33 year old Fisher birdied the first after an excellent approach, but gave the shot back at the short third and remained 18 under for the week through four holes.
Hoey had also converted from inside ten feet at the first, and a magnificent three wood approach to the par five fourth gave him a 15 foot eagle chance that the five-time European Tour winner duly accepted.
That left him only two behind, with Spanish Qualifying School winner Carlos Del Moral a shot further back after three birdies in his first five holes.
Fisher went three in front when he holed from 20 feet at the seventh and Hoey missed his birdie effort from half that distance.
However, the roles were reversed at the next as 35 year old Hoey reached the green at the par five in two and birdied, with Fisher having to settle for par after his pitched third shot finished 20 feet short of the pin.
Hoey then closed the gap to just one shot with a birdie from 30 feet at the 11th, while Del Moral was only two off the pace after consecutive gains at the 11th and 12th.
The tide turned, perhaps decisively, in Fisher’s favour at the 12th, where Hoey struck his approach from the middle of the fairway into the lake beside the green and double bogeyed.
That left Fisher three clear of Del Moral, Hoey and South African Hennie Otto with holes fast running out for those in pursuit.