Dean Burmester was on course to claim a maiden European Tour victory as he opened up a four-shot lead midway through the final round of the Tshwane Open.
The South African finished 140th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex last season but back-to-back top ten finishes at the BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented an encouraging start to the new campaign, and he finished in a tie for 11th at last week's Joburg Open.
That form prompted him to say he did not feel a first European Tour win - to add to his six Sunshine Tour triumphs - was not far away and he turned in 29 on Sunday to get to 18 under and take control at Pretoria Country Club.
Finn Mikko Korhonen turned in 32 to emerge as the nearest challenger with Spaniard Jorge Campillo then a further shot back.
Burmester had a ragged start off the first tee, finding some nasty rough, but he did well to find the green with his second and holed a lengthy left-to-righter to join the leaders.
There was no such unorthodox route to birdie on the second, a drive down the middle and an approach to tap-in range moved him to 14 under and the solo lead.
A huge drive down the third left Burmester with a flick into the green and he was looking formidable with a third birdie in a row handing him a three-shot advantage.
A pair of pars followed but his approaches to four and 12 feet on the sixth and eighth produced further birdies before he took advantage of the par five ninth.
Korhonen was bogey-free in his first nine holes with gains on the fourth, eighth and ninth, while Campillo responded to a bogey on the fourth with gains on the sixth and ninth.
Swede Alexander Björk entered the day with a share of the lead but he had a single bogey on the first in his opening eight holes to sit at 12 under.
Jacques Blaauw holds the course record with a 61 and he was 11 under after 16 holes but his charge looked to have come too late.
Peter Karmis, Peter Uihlein and Justin Walters were than at ten under, a shot clear of Thomas Aiken, Paul Dunne, Richie Ramsay and James Morrison.