Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen was joined by fellow South African Tjaart van der Walt at the top of the leaderboard on Saturday after three rounds of the Africa Open.
Title holder Oosthuizen took a two-stroke advantage into the penultimate round of the first 2012 European Tour event after a birdie-packed 62, but had to settle for a six-under-par 67 third time round the East London Golf Club layout.
Van der Walt followed his second-round 64 with a 65 and goes into the final round level with 2010 Open winner Oosthuizen on 198 — 21-under-par on a part-links, part-parkland 6 190-metre course overlooking the Indian Ocean.
The race for the 158 500-euro first prize has developed into a battle between South Africa, England and Scotland with Sweden’s Magnus Carlsson the lone ‘outsider’ among the top 12, who are separated by seven strokes.
Retief Goosen, the other Major winner in the field, occupies third place a stroke behind the leaders after a 66 and fellow South African Richard Sterne (64) and the United Kingdom’s Danny Willett (65) are a further shot adrift of the leaders.
Sterne returned the lowest round of the day on a course where a tight front nine is followed by a more spacious inward journey while Van der Walt, along with compatriots Darren Fichardt, Lyle Rowe and Willett, carded a 65 each.
Leading and selected scores after third round of Africa Open on Saturday at par-73, 6 190-metre East London Golf Club (RSA unless noted):
- 198 – Tjaart van der Walt 69-64-65, Louis Oosthuizen 69-62-67
- 199 – Retief Goosen 65-68-66
- 200 – Danny Willett (ENG) 67-68-65
- 202 – Richard Sterne 69-69-64
- 203 – Jaco Van Zyl 71-65-67, Craig Lee (SCO) 68-67-68, Alastair Forsyth (SCO) 69-66-68
- 205 – Tyrone Ferreira 68-68-69, Richard Bland (ENG) 67-69-69, Magnus Carlsson (SWE) 69-66-70, Thomas Aiken 64-69-72
- 206 – Darren Fichardt 71-70-65, Lyle Rowe 73-68-65, Ruan de Smidt 69-70-67, Grant Muller 69-69-68, Adilson Da Silva (BRA) 69-69-68, Joshua Cunliffe 69-68-69, Tim Sluiter (NED) 68-69-69, Shaun Norris, 67-70-69, Phillip Price (WAL) 66-71-69, Benn Barham (ENG) 70-66-70, Matthew Baldwin (ENG) 72-64-70, Jaco Ahlers 65-68-73
- 207 – Danie van Tonder 70-70-67, Agustin Domingo (ESP) 68-71-68, Allan Versfeld 69-70-68, Doug McGuigan 70-69-68, Peter Karmis 68-70-69, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 69-66-72
- 208 – Garth Mulroy 68-72-68, George Coetzee 71-68-69
- 209 – Chris Wood (ENG) 69-71-69, David Howell (ENG) 68-69-72
- 210 – David Drysdale (SCO) 72-69-69, Steven O’Hara (SCO) 70-70-70