Trevor Fisher Jnr took advantage of a quiet day by George Coetzee on Saturday to tuck in one shot off the pace in the third round of the R1-million Investec Cup at the Lost City course.
Fisher carded a five-under-par 67 to move to 10-under-par for the tournament, one behind Coetzee who had two bogeys in his two-under-par 70.
“The third round is moving day,” said Fisher, “so I needed to shoot a five- or six-under. I was happy with my performance. I left one or two out there, but the greens were a little slow and I left a few short. You don’t quite trust your putting stroke on surfaces that are a little bit slow.”
He made five birdies up to the 16th, and then dropped his only shot of the day on the 17th. He made up for that with a birdie on the 18th.
Coetzee was cruising along, with two birdies in his first three holes, and a four-stroke edge over his nearest opposition. But then things went a little quiet for him. The bogeys on eight and 10 saw him drop back into the clutches of his pursuers.
It stayed quiet until he reached the 16th, and he took the riskier option of driver off the tee. “I don’t feel comfortable with three-wood on the tee,” he said, “so I took driver there, and hit my approach to a foot to set up the birdie.”
That took him into a share of the lead with Fisher, and he made his fourth birdie of the day on the 18th to draw one clear going into the final round.
There was some real action further down the field too: Defending champion Jaco van Zyl rediscovered his putting stroke with a new putter on his way to a seven-under-par 65 which lifted him to eight-under for the tournament.
Jacques Blaauw seemed to be sailing under the radar until his eagle three on the 18th for a 67 saw him climb to nine-under for the tournament in a share of third with Keith Horne, who carded a three-under-par 69.
And Dawie van der Walt had the round of the day after something of a lacklustre start in the opening two rounds which were played at Millvale Private Retreat. He stormed home in eight-under-par 64, and, after being stuck in a share of 14th at the halfway mark, he found himself sharing fifth with Van Zyl – and within striking distance.
It’s going to be a breathless chase to the finish in the final round, as the 30 players seek the winner’s share of the R10-million Bonus Pool – that’s R3.5-million – in addition to the winner’s purse in the tournament which forms the climax to a year-long quest for points in all the regular-season Sunshine Tour events in the Chase to the Investec Cup, beginning with the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open last April and ending at the Tshwane Open.
One of the players looking to pull clear will be Fisher. “I enjoy this course. I’ve won here before. Tomorrow I’ll just try and be a little more firm and aggressive and see what happens,” Fisher said.