Fine start puts Coetzee ahead in Morocco

4/2/2011 1:58:57 PM
George Coetzee  (Getty Images)
George Coetzee (Getty Images)

George Coetzee began his third round with a hattrick of birdies as the South African steamed into the lead at the Trophée Hassan II.

The 24 year old moved past overnight leaders Rhys Davies and Joost Luiten, who both dropped back into the pack on five under with early bogeys.

Coetzee was eight under and two clear of Indian Shiv Kapur, who birdied the first.

Ten players were tied on five under in the early stages - defending champion Davies and Dutchman Luiten joined by English pair Robert Rock and David Horsey, Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, German Florian Fritsch, Japan's Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Finn Mikko Ilonen, South African Jaco Van Zyl and former US Open Champion Michael Campbell.

New Zealand's Campbell, for whom this is only a second made cut of the season and third in two years, was two under for the day after six holes as he looks to put a succession of injuries behind him.

England's Steve Webster performed best of the early starters, his four under 68 at Golf Du Palais Royal - play has reverted there after being split with Golf De L'Océan for the first two rounds - putting him in a share of 25th on two under.

Coetzee reached the green in two at the par five fifth, and when he sank his eagle putt it took him four clear at ten under par.

Kapur, Fritsch and Horsey were leading the chase on six under, while Scotland's Richie Ramsay birdied six of his last ten holes for a 66 that put him in the clubhouse at five under.

After the high of his eagle, Coetzee was back down to earth at the next when his approach came up short of the green and led to a bogey.

And with Kapur birdieing the fifth, the gap was back down to two.

Four-time Sunshine Tour winner Coetzee was straight back to ten under with another gain at the seventh, and his closest challenger was now Horsey - who holed his approach to the sixth for eagle as Kapur bogeyed.