A bet with his father has Brandon Stone particularly well-fed after his third-round nine-under-par 63 on Saturday in the R1.2-million Lion of Africa Cape Town Open being played at Royal Cape Golf Club.
The winner in the family duel – dad Kevin is also in the field and shot 75 – has to buy dinner, and Brandon’s 10 birdies and just one dropped shot gave him a three-stroke edge over second-placed Erik van Rooyen ahead of the final round.
“The bogey on 17 is going to make dinner taste a little bit worse, but you can never be grumpy after a 63,” he said.
He pulled that dropped shot straight back with a superb birdie on 18. “I flushed the tee shot straight into the fairway bunker like a real chop,” he said, “and then hit probably the shot of the day – a nice wedge out of the bunker to about six feet and I hit the putt dead-centre to make me sleep a little bit sounder tonight.”
He started like a house on fire. After making a regulation par on the first, he reeled off four birdies in a row, and then followed it with another on the seventh. He turned in five-under 31, and immediately picked up another two birdies on the 10th and 11th. Another two in a row came at 15 and 15, before he missed an opportunity on the par-five 16th.
“I didn’t hole too many putts from the fifth to the ninth,” he said, “and then I holed a few goodies on the back nine which always helps. There was one putt on 15 that was a steely one. It was about a 30-footer which hit the hole dead centre, which was a good thing, or it might have gone a good eight to 10 feet past.
“But I also just hit the ball really well. It’s the same as I’ve been playing for the last two days, to be really honest. The putts just fell today.”
Van Rooyen posted a solid two-under-par 70 of his own, to go with his opening eight-under 64 and his second-round 71, but his attempt to keep in touch with the rolling Stone was stymied by four bogeys which were interspersed with his six birdies.
Peter Karmis and Richard Sterne found themselves in a share of third, four shots back from Van Rooyen, and there were seven players on six-under.
They will have their work cut out for them if Stone can reproduce anything like the form he did in the third round. He started the tournament with a one-over 73, but he followed it with a six-under 66, and then the 63.
“It has been getting better,” he laughed. “I don’t know what I’m going to shoot tomorrow if the trend keeps going, but if the putter gets going like it did today, a very low score is on the cards. This is going to sound arrogant, but I’ve got to go out and try and do better than I did today. The way that I’m playing, and the way I feel on this course, you never know!”