He started with a bogey, and that was just what Haydn Porteous needed on Friday to get himself into the right frame of mind. He went on to make five birdies on his way to a third-round 68 in the finale of the Chase to the Investec Cup being played at Millvale Private Retreat.
That gave him a one-stroke edge over his great friend and rival Brandon Stone, who survived two double-bogeys on his way to a two-under-par 70, and halfway leader Dean Burmester, who can’t be caught in the race to get the winner’s share of the R10-million Investec Cup Bonus Pool was a further shot back after battling around in one-over 73.
“I started a bit slow with a bogey on the first but you know sometimes to start with a bogey is the best thing,” said Porteous. “It gets you into the zone and makes you think a little bit more over the next 17 holes.”
And while all round him seemed to be losing their heads – there were six double-bogeys or worse from five of the players who finished 54 holes inside the top 10 – Porteous seemed imperturbable and picked up five birdies after that early blemish.
“I made a couple of good birdies going out, especially on nine,” said Porteous, “and it just gave me that little bit more motivation to get through the next nine and hopefully post a good one. Again I kept the mistakes to a minimum and I hit lots of greens. I didn’t hit as many fairways as I have been for the last couple of days but as long as you’re not hitting wayward shots and hopefully you’re around the fairway, you’ve still got a decent shot and a decent go at the green.”
Stone looked back on his round and was rueful of the pair of double bogeys which rather spoiled his six birdies. “I only hit two bad shots and they both resulted in doubles, which doesn’t really help things,” he said. “But I played well again. Pretty much the same as I’ve played the last few days. The game feels really good, and it’s weird to be trailing again after playing well.”
There’s not much in it, however, and the pair are set for a duel which should decide the destination of the R250,000 which is up for grabs for the winner in this 16-man field, and also see exactly where they finish behind Burmester in the final points position in the Chase to the Investec Cup.
“Tussling against Brandon is something that isn’t new to me,” said Porteous of a rivalry that goes back to their junior amateur days. “We’ve done it before and it should be a good crack tomorrow.”