Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)
Three birdies in three holes helped Henrik Stenson turn in 33 at Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate and lead the SA Open Championship.
The 36 year old Swede, now a Dubai resident, is looking to cement his place in the lucrative DP World Tour Championship next week.
Currently 59th in The Race to Dubai with only the top 60 making the journey to Jumeirah Golf Estates, Stenson did his chances the world of good as he continues to return to form.
Fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking three years ago, the former Ryder Cup star slid to 230th at one stage but is now back to 113rd, and boosted his chances of a first European Tour win for five years with his outward nine.
Two behind Merrick Bremner overnight, Stenson had a hattrick of gains from the 15th to reach nine under par.
Stenson maintained that form and picked up another couple of shots at the first and third.
Hennie Otto and Ernie Els have won this competition in the last two years and a plethora of South Africans, including overnight leader Bremner, who was amongst the later starters, are aiming to be the third successive winner to come from the Rainbow Nation.
Bremner’s compatriots Allan Versfeld and Jake Roos both moved up the leaderboard while Jaco Van Zyl, who like Stenson is hoping to claim one of the final places for next week's showpiece in Dubai, moved to five under through 15.
In the dash for 2013 European Tour cards Lloyd Saltman was the day’s big mover.
The Scot, in need of a win as even the second-place cheque of €115,000 wouldn’t take him from 191st on The Race to Dubai into the top 119 come Sunday, turned in a four under par 32 to reach six under and share fourth place.