The 22-year-old is one of the youngest players in the field, yet he shot 68 on Friday, which was the second-lowest score of the third round.
The € 375,000 tournament is the culmination of a season’s hard work on the European Challenge Tour, with the top 45 players gaining access to the finale. After 72 holes the leading 15 players on the Order of Merit, called The Road to Oman, will secure playing privileges for the European Tour’s 2015/16 season.
Stone has ground away throughout the year and reports two second-place finishes in his four top-10s on tour. Those results, along with him making 12 cuts in 17 starts, have earned the young South African 19th place in the Road to Oman.
On Friday he continued to prove his talent with a round that included five birdies and one dropped shot, finishing 54 holes on six-under-par. There was a five-way tie for the lead on seven-under, with the Stone one stroke behind in a share of sixth place.
It has not all been rainbows for the Mount Edgecombe Country Club golfer, who felt bite of a double-bogey seven at the 16th during his second round. Outside of that big number he’s played solid golf, making just three further bogeys during the week.
The future star goes into the final round one shot back and fully aware that he’s close to having a European Tour card. Players such as Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson have graduated from the Challenge Tour, and on Saturday Stone could well join those ranks.
The only player to trump Stone’s low-scoring 68 on Friday was his friend Haydn Porteous, who brought his chances back to life with a thunderous 66 to rise into 37th place. He remains on four-over-par and has to play a tremendous final round for the 15th-place result that he needs, but he has a chance.