One man who is eyeing both a tournament victory and a spot in the Open Championship ahead of the final round tee-off in the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club is Jacques Blaauw.
He carded a third-round five-under-par 67 on the East Course to lift himself into contention at 12-under-par, two shots off the 54-hole lead held by Wallie Coetsee.
“I was looking at the scoreboard and I saw that no one was going forward,” he said of his round which included six birdies and a bogey. “I heard some roars out there today, so I guess there will be a few movers, but I’m happy to be on 12-under.”
It’s a welcome return to form for Blaauw, who missed January’s South African Open Championship – his wedding day was clearly a more important engagement – and, by his own admission, was a little rusty in the Sunshine Tour’s 20155 season opener at Fancourt in the Dimension Data Pro-Am, where he finished in a share of 12th after a closing two-over-par 74 was not enough to get him into contention.
Blaauw was a three-time winner on the Sunshine Tour in 2013, and, although he didn’t get any victories last year, he matched his 22nd-place finish on the Order of Merit, winning just a fraction less than he had in the previous season.
A victory in the Joburg Open is what he sees as the next logical step in his career progression. “I think that’s where I need to be going,” he said, “and a win here would be huge – and making the Open Championship at St Andrews would be a dream.”
He was looking forward to the challenge of the final round, which is the theatre where he can make that dream come true. “You have to go out there and shoot low,” he said. “I’m playing well and it’s nice to be in the running for a tournament. I’m happy to be in contention and looking forward to the final round.”