Dawie sets target as rain halts Joburg Open third round

Dawie van der Walt beat the rain and darkness on Saturday to post a five-under-par 67 for the clubhouse lead at 12-under-par 203 in the third-round of the €1,3-million Joburg Open being played at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

That mark was matched by a round of eight-under-par 64 by Canada’s Andrew Parr, who racked up eight birdies and didn’t drop a single shot as he tore his way around the tough 6,995-metre (7,650-yard) East Course.

But the tournament leaders – Branden Grace and England’s Richard Finch – were on 15-under-par when the siren blew to take the players off the course before the round was complete for the third day in a row.

Grace had just knocked in three birdies in a row to move into a share of the lead with Finch, who had turned his third-round fortunes around with a chip-in for eagle from a greenside bunker on eight, having slipped up with bogeys on four and seven.

Grace was on five-under for his round and playing the 16th when play was called off for the day, and Finch was playing 15 at four-under.

And one behind them was George Coetzee on 14-under, playing the 15th in a round that was filled with well-made pars and just three birdies – just what he said he wanted ahead of the start of the third round.

Jbe’ Kruger was on 12-under with Van der Walt and Parr, and he was on the 16th.

In the final group still out on the course was England’s Robert Rock, who was battling to keep his round on track after making bogey on the 10th, his second of the day. He was level-par through 14 and on 11-under for the tournament – together with Danny Willett who had completed his round, and Michiel Bothma who was on the 17th.

“I don’t know how much tougher this course can play,” said Van der Walt as he looked back on his round. “I thought they used all the really hard flags for the third round. We’ll see what they’ve got for us tomorrow.

“I’ll be firing at the flags regardless of where they put them,” he added.

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