Heinrich Bruiners fired a three-under-par 69 on Thursday in the third round of the R600,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Euphoria Golf Estate and will go to bed on a four-stroke lead ahead of the final round.
Not that he will rest much with his seven-under total of 137 in the 54-hole tournament: “It’s the first time I’m going to be in the final three-ball,” he said, “and I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep.”
He had that four-stroke edge over Desvonde Botes, with Jake Redman, Tjaart van der Walt and James Kamte a further shot back on two-under for the tournament.
But Bruiners has worked so hard at bringing his career back on track after a near-catastrophic motor accident left him out of golf for the whole of 2011, he’s not likely to let a small thing like a restless night stop him from enjoying his first real shot at winning as a professional.
“It’s the first time ever that I can say with 100 per cent confidence that I actually believe I can win,” he said. “So I’m very excited to go out tomorrow and I’m going to give it 120 per cent.”
He built his cushion on some really smart play on the 7,040-metre Annika Sorenstam-designed Euphoria layout, making three birdies and not dropping a single shot all day – in stark contrast to every other player in the field on the day.
“I started off a bit shaky,” he said of his four consecutive pars to open. “After the first two pars, I just went back to the processes I’ve been working on for quite a while now. Getting that 68 in the pre-qualifier and in the first round, that helped with the confidence.”
He made his birdies on five, 12 and 17, and has dropped just a single shot in the first two rounds.
Botes, who was two-under overnight, signed for a 71 with two bogeys and two birdies in his opening nine, and a solitary birdie coming home.
Bruiners’ 69 was matched by only four other players on the day. Van der Walt, PH McIntyre, Bryce Easton and Adilson Da Silva also carded three-under-par each, and all advanced their causes ahead of the final round.
Of those, Van der Walt and Da Silva will be in with the more likely chances. And both were impressed with the lead Bruiners had carved out – and aware of how patient they would have to be on a difficult course if they were to have any chance of catching him.
But Bruiners seems ready: “The most powerful thing for a human being is when you start believing that you can do something,” he said. “I’ll go out there and try and make a few more putts, but everything about my game’s on point.”