Coetzee firmly in contention

4/2/2011 4:03:08 PM
George Coetzee made a blistering start to the third round as he took control of the Trophée Hassan II.

The 24 year old South African moved past overnight leaders Rhys Davies and Joost Luiten with an opening hattrick of birdies, before extending his lead at the par five fifth by reaching the green in two and holing his eagle putt.

Four clear at that point, Coetzee came back down to earth at the next when his approach came up short of the green and led to a bogey.

Four-time Sunshine Tour winner Coetzee was straight back to ten under with another gain at the seventh, bogeyed the eighth but returned to five under for the day when he picked up a shot at the par five tenth.

At ten under he led by one from England’s David Horsey, who was also making an impressive move at Golf Du Palais Royal - the venue for the third round after sharing the action with Golf De L’Océan for the first two days.

Horsey completed a front nine 32, the highlight of which was a holed approach at the sixth for an eagle two.

Defending champion Davies, South African Jaco Van Zyl, Germany’s Florian Fritsch and Finn Mikko Ilonen were all tied for third on seven under par, while Scot Richie Ramsay held the clubhouse lead on five under after signing for a 66.

Coetzee’s round contained only two pars in his first 12 holes as consecutive bogeys dropped him back to eight under.

Horsey birdied the 11th to be out in front on his own, while Coetzee’s compatriot Van Zyl held the clubhouse lead on nine under after a flawless 65.

He was joined by Davies, who had five to play, with Coetzee one ahead of Luiten and Ilonen.