Saturday, 16 January 2016
Anthony Wall  (Getty Images)
Anthony Wall (Getty Images)

Anthony Wall joined Ross McGowan at the top of a congested leaderboard as the third round of the Joburg Open moved towards its conclusion at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.

Englishman McGowan had held a three-shot lead overnight at 14 under and was level par at the turn to allow countryman Wall to close that gap with three birdies in ten holes.

American Daniel Im was then a shot behind after setting the clubhouse target with a flawless 65, alongside home favourite Haydn Porteous who was two under for the day through his first ten holes.

A field of 210, the biggest of the season, had gathered in Gauteng on Thursday but that was cut to 78 at the weekend with the competitors playing not only for the title but a spot at The Open Championship.

The top three non-exempt players in the top ten will earn their place at Royal Troon and with Ernie Els and David Howell, the highest placed exempt players, currently seven off the lead, this is a golden opportunity to get to the third Major Championship of the year.

Porteous made a brilliant start as he holed  a bunker shot on the first for eagle to get within one but McGowan, playing in the group behind, holed from five feet for birdie.

Felipe Aguilar and Jean Hugo also took advantage of the first but Hugo gave the shot back on the second to sit at 11 under alongside Im who had made the big move of the morning.

The 30 year old had birdies on the first, sixth, eighth, 11th and 12th to get into a tie for fourth after 12 holes.

McGowan left his tee shot at the lengthy par three second short and then needed two putts to drop back to 14 under with Aguilar also dropping a shot after missing a short par putt.

Im's fantastic run continued on the 13th as the Qualifying School graduate made it three birdies in a row to get within two shots of the lead and he was soon in share of second as Porteous failed to get up-and-down and dropped a shot at the third.

Paul Dunne was one under for his round after four holes but birdied three in a row from the fifth to get within one of the leader and missed a short putt on the eighth after a brilliant chip.

Another bogey followed for Porteous on the fourth but back-to-back gains on the seventh and eighth moved him back into the group at 13 under which was two off the lead when McGowan holed from six feet on the sixth after a great third shot.

But the 33 year old endured a nightmare on the seventh, finding a hazard off the tee, failing to chip out and then leaving his third shot short. His chip then only advanced him four feet and he recorded a double bogey.

A brilliant bounce back was to follow as McGowan got up-and-down on the eighth to move back into the lead which was soon shared by countryman Wall.

The 40 year old had quietly gone about his business picking up birdies at the fourth and ninth and when he put a brilliant approach on the tenth to inside three feet, a third gain of the day got him to 14 under.

While all this was happening Im, who had teed off more than two hours before the leaders, had birdied the 18th courtesy of an excellent bunker shot to get to 13 under.

Hugo had birdied the sixth and Aguilar the eighth to get to 12 under alongside Zander Lombard who had six birdies and two bogeys through 14 holes.

Dunne, meanwhile, found the water on the 11th to drop to 11 under with Björn Åkesson, Marcel Siem and Rhys West.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PORTEOUS, HaydnRSA15-17
T2ÅKESSON, BjörnSWE18-15
T2WALTERS, JustinRSA18-15
T2IM, DanielUSA17-15
T2WALL, AnthonyENG17-15
T2LOMBARD, ZanderRSA15-15

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