3rd March 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Coetzee leads into final Tshwane Open round
George Coetzee bogeyed the last hole of the third round of the Tshwane Open on Saturday at Pretoria Country Club, but he still managed to card a three-under-par 68 to move into a two-stroke lead ahead of the final round.
He pushed his tee shot to the right, and instead of risking damaging a club – and himself – by going for the green on the par-five closer, he chipped out sideways. His third shot came up short, and his fourth scooted 20 feet past the hole. He missed the par putt, but was nonetheless two clear of Sam Horsfield of England and Finland’s Miko Korhonen.
Despite that, he was content with his third-round showing. “I’m quite happy with the way I played today,” he said. “The front nine wasn’t that great. I felt like I was trying to control everything, but I felt like I loosened up and played pretty nicely from nine onwards.”
He started well, with a birdie on the second, but he handed that shot right back with a bogey on three. He birdied nine and 10 around the turn, and looked to be cruising to a much bigger lead as he made gains on 12 and 15.
Behind him, Horsfield’s was the round of the day. He made seven birdies and didn’t drop a shot on his way to a seven-under-par 64. But, when he started with four consecutive birdies, he would have though he might have gone even lower.
“The back nine is definitely tougher with fewer birdie opportunities,” said Horsfield. “I made a good birdie on 11 and then birdied 12, the par-five, and then just sort of just hung on coming down the stretch. When I was seven-under through 12, I actually just tried to stay in my zone.”
Korhonen, who finished second here last year, struggled with his game, making two bogeys in a barren stretch which lasted until the 12th hole when he made his first birdie. “I struggled in the beginning big-time,” he said. “I wasn’t really confident, I wasn’t really there, but it started going better on the back nine.
“I just had to regroup, just play my game as I have been doing the last couple of days. I just had to trust that it would come,” he said. He picked up four birdies in the final seven holes on his way to two-under 69.
The challenge for those two in the final round is to deal with Coetzee on his home course in front of his home fans. “Playing in front of a home crowd is what it’s all about,” he said. “I hope I can do something special in front of all the guys tomorrow.
“I shouldn’t actually think of anything tomorrow – just try and play some good golf tomorrow. It will be hard to take the win out of the picture, but I’ll try my best to just go out and play some good golf.”