Aiken and Walters remain tied at the top

2/9/2014 11:19:00 AM
Thomas Aiken  (Getty Images)
Thomas Aiken (Getty Images)
There was still nothing separating Thomas Aiken and Justin Walters at the top of the Joburg Open leaderboard midway through the front nine of the final round.

The two Johannesburg-born players started the day two shots clear on 17 under par, and that was still the case after four holes.

Walters, seeking a first European Tour title, started with four straight pars, whilst Aiken went clear with a birdie at the long first only to bogey the third after pulling his approach left and doffing his first chip.

England’s Andy Sullivan and another South African in George Coetzee were leading the chase on 15 under par.

Former Walker Cup star Sullivan gave himself a great chance of claiming one of the three Open Championship spots on offer as a 25 foot birdie at the 16th put him seven under for the day with two to play, while Coetzee birdied the fourth from ten feet and was two under for his round through five holes.

Coetzee found a third birdie of the day when he reached the edge of the sixth green in two and two-putted the par five to be only one behind, but Aiken and Walters both gained a shot at the same hole to restore their advantage.

The eighth hole provided a potentially decisive swing as, with Coetzee already having birdied the par five, Walters found trouble with a bunker off the tee and Aiken three-putted to see both run up bogey sixes.

That left the three players tied on 17 under, with Korea’s Jin Jeong a shot further back after consecutive birdies from the seventh.

Sullivan parred his last two holes for a round of 65 and had to wait to see whether his 15 under total would be good enough for a top-three finish and invite to Royal Liverpool in July.