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Saturday, 03 March 2018
Day 3 Highlights - Tshwane Open

Home favourite George Coetzee put himself in the driving seat to claim a second Tshwane Open title as he opened up a two-shot lead heading into the final round in Waterkloof.

The South African is a member at Pretoria Country Club and used all his local knowledge to card a 68 and move to 14 under, leading the way from England's Sam Horsfield and Finn Mikko Korhonen.

All three of Coetzee's European Tour wins have come on African soil, including here in 2015 - the year when he won both this event and the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open after leading through 54 holes.

England's Horsfield carded a 64 which was his lowest ever round in a professional event, while Korhonen birdied four of his last seven holes in a 69.

Chilean Felipe Aguilar, South African duo Thomas Aiken and Erik van Rooyen, and Scotland's Scott Jamieson were then at ten under.

"Happy with a two-shot lead," said Coetzee. "I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

"I’m quite happy with the way I played today. The front nine wasn’t that great, I felt like I was trying to control everything but I felt like I loosened up and played pretty nicely from nine onwards.

"Playing in front of a home crowd is what it’s all about. I hope I can do something special in front of all the guys tomorrow.

"I shouldn’t actually think of anything tomorrow, just try and play some good golf. It will be hard to take the win out of the picture but I’ll try my best to just go out and play some good golf."

Horsfield came through all three stages of Qualifying School to win the Final Stage by eight shots and reached the semi-finals of the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth as he makes his start to life on the European Tour.

He made five birdies in his first eight holes on Friday and was off to a flier again, making five opening threes to hand him four gains as he moved up to nine under.

Playing in front of a home crowd is what it’s all about. I hope I can do something special in front of all the guys tomorrow - George Coetzee

Coetzee played the first beautifully and although he missed his birdie putt, he made no such mistake on the second to stretch his overnight lead to two.

He gave the shot back on the next after a three-putt and would soon be overtaken as Horsfield continued his charge through the field.

The 21 year old took advantage of the par five ninth, holed from 12 feet on the 11th, and when he came up just short of the par five 12th and got down in two, he was in front.

Coetzee made the most of the ninth to share the lead and holed a 12-footer from the fringe on the tenth to get his nose back in front.

Horsfield parred his way home to set the target but Coetzee put his foot down, getting up and down from a greenside bunker on the 12th and putting his approach to the 15th to tap-in range to lead by three.

He put his tee-shot on the last behind a tree and was forced to chip out, playing two clumsy shots into the green to surrender a bogey and cut his advantage to two from Horsfield and the surging Korhonen.

A runner-up here last season, the 37 year old bogeyed the fourth and 11th but took advantage of the 12th, holed a long putt on the 14th, put his tee-shot on the 16th to tap-in range and made another long putt on the next.

Aiken made birdies on the fourth, tenth, 11th and 15th to go with remarkable par saves from the trees on the 12th and 13th, with countryman Van Rooyen posted the same score with five birdies and a bogey as he saw putts burn the edge on the back nine.

Scotsman Jamieson also made five birdies and a bogey with the help of some brilliant dialled-in iron play, while Aguilar recovered from a bogey-bogey start to post a level par 71.

French duo Sébastien Gros and Victor Perez, South Africans Shaun Norris and Daniel van Tonder, and Brazilian Adilson da Silva were at eight under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-18
2HORSFIELD, SamENG18-16
3KORHONEN, MikkoFIN18-15
T4VAN TONDER, DanielRSA18-14
T4AGUILAR, FelipeCHI18-14
T4GROS, SébastienFRA18-14

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