Matthew Baldwin (Getty Images)
Matthew Baldwin and Dawie van der Walt headed a tightly-packed leaderboard as the third and final round of The Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa began in Durban.
After three days badly hampered by the weather at Mount Edgecombe, England’s Daniel Brooks charged into a three shot lead as the second round was completed first thing this morning.
With seven holes of his round remaining upon the resumption, the Qualifying School graduate fired birdies from ten feet at the sixth and via a chip-in at the seventh to stretch his advantage to three on 14 under.
But the 26 year old, yet to record a top ten finish on The European Tour, found the going much tougher when he went back out for the final round.
Having played 36 holes without a bogey, Brooks left par putts short at both the first two holes, double bogeyed the fourth, then failed to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the sixth to slide back into the chasing pack.
That allowed Tshwane Open winner van der Walt and Baldwin, who has never finished higher than fifth at this level, to take the lead on 13 under.
Van der Walt overcame a bogey at the second with three birdies in four holes from the third, while Baldwin fought back from a dropped shot on the opening hole with a hat-trick of birdies from the second.
France’s Romain Wattel and South African pair Branden Grace and Oliver Bekker led the chasing group on 11 under par.
Baldwin bogeyed the seventh, but van der Walt fluffed a chip at the next, allowing Wattel to make it a three-way tie for the lead at 12 under with a birdie on the eighth.
Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed suddenly joined the leading group when he eagled the 12th from 25 feet to be five under for his round.
Van der Walt, however, dropped into a share of fourth with compatriot Bekker and Spain’s Jorge Campillo after missing the green at the short 11th and bogeying.