Coetzee and Fichardt seize advantage

3/3/2013 10:35:00 AM
Charl Coetzee  (Getty Images)
Charl Coetzee (Getty Images)
Charl Coetzee and Darren Fichardt were first to strike as the race for the Tshwane Open began at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate.

The two South Africans were part of a four-way tie for the lead with compatriot Dawie Van Der Walt and Chile’s Mark Tullo overnight, but as the final round kicked off Coetzee and Fichardt birdied the second and third to pull two shots clear on 18 under par.

Van Der Walt and Tullo were two shots back after both started with three straight pars, while there were a further two strokes back to former US Amateur Champion Peter Uihlein and another South African, Louis De Jager.

Fichardt was chasing a second title of the season after winning the Africa Open a fortnight ago, while Coetzee was seeking his first professional win.

If either could hold on it would be a fifth South African victory in the sixth events co-sanctioned between The European Tour and Sunshine Tour.

Van Der Walt made it a three-way tie for the lead when he became only the fourth player this week to eagle the par five fourth; at 685 yards the longest hole in European Tour history.

Fichardt birdied the fifth to go back in front, but Van Der Walt stole a march when he picked up shots at the next two to lead by one.

Tullo gained shots at the fourth and seventh to be two back in third, but Coetzee bogeyed the seventh to drop to fourth.