Sunday, 04 March 2018
Mikko Korhonen  (Getty Images)
Mikko Korhonen (Getty Images)

Mikko Korhonen opened up a one-shot lead at the turn during the final round of the Tshwane Open as he looks for a first European Tour title at Pretoria Country Club.

The Finn - a four-time Qualifying School graduate - is playing his 140th event this week at a venue where he finished in a tie for second last season.

He turned in 32 to get to 15 under and lead by one shot from home favourite George Coetzee, who played his front nine in level par.

England's Sam Horsfield - who won the Qualifying School in November by eight shots - was then at 13 under, a shot clear of Chilean Felipe Aguilar and Scotland's Scott Jamieson.

Korhonen made a smart par save on the first while Horsfield needed some good fortune to register his, sending his tee-shot way left and bouncing from the trees onto the fairway before getting up and down from a bunker in front of the green.

Coetzee had no such issues, leaving himself ten feet for birdie and narrowly missing on the low side.

Korhonen hit his approach into the third to three feet for a birdie and that was soon enough for a share of the lead.

Coetzee's second on the third came up short of the green and a poor chip led to a dropped shot, with Horsfield also making a bogey after putting his tee-shot into the trees and flying the green.

Korhonen found sand off the tee on the par three fifth but holed his bunker shot to edge ahead and when Coetzee had to play sideways out of the trees on the fourth, the 37 year old had a two-shot lead.

Horsfield holed a lengthy putt on the fifth and repeated the trick on the sixth, with Coetzee following him in from closer range as the 31 year old cut the lead to one.

A 20-footer from Korhonen on the seventh re-established his two-shot cushion while Horsfield dropped a shot on the seventh, but a 15-foot putt from Coetzee on the eighth had him back within one.

The 2015 champion did well to save his par on the ninth after finding the water while Horsfield got up and down from the sand for a birdie that kept him right in the mix.

Aguilar had bogeyed the first but he made back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth and a nice recovery on the par five ninth got him to 12 under.

Jamieson was bogey-free through ten holes and two under for the day after some smart iron play into the fifth and tenth.

Pedro Oriol produced the round of the week with a 62 that got him to 11 under and catapulted him into another encouraging finish since his graduation from the Challenge Tour.

The two-time Qualifying School graduate has lost his card on both of his previous full seasons on Tour but has made four of his five cuts so far this campaign.

He birdied the second and sixth before making a hat-trick of birdies from the eighth and added further gains on the 13th and 15th. The Spaniard's only bogey of the day came on the next but a birdie-eagle finish moved him to 11 under.

South African Daniel van Tonder was also 11 under, a shot clear of countrymen Thomas Aiken and Erik van Rooyen, and Frenchman Sébastien Gros.

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Tournament Leaderboard

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

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