George Coetzee discovered that the test of his ability lay in adversity on Saturday as he overcame four consecutive bogeys in the third round of the R3.2-million Dimension Data Pro-Am to hold a slender one-stroke lead going into the final round.
Hennie Otto took advantage of CoetzeeÂs stumble to move to 12-under-par 205, while Coetzee managed to regain his composure with a birdie on the 18th to regain sole possession of a lead which at one point looked as if it might balloon to as many as six shots.
The 160-man professional field played three rounds Â one on each of The Links, Outeniqua and Montagu courses at Fancourt Â after which a cut was made to the top 65 players and ties.
The pros were each paired with an amateur for the first three rounds, and there was also a cut for the betterball teams, with the top 25 going through to the final round which will be played on Sunday on Montagu.
ÂI just got complacent,Â said Coetzee, Âand I told myself that it was not my game that was the problem.
ÂIt was just my concentration and all I have to do is grind it out and finish strong and do it all again tomorrow,Â he added.
Otto also finished strong: he carded a six-under-par 66, with his final nine on the Montagu course taking just 31 shots.
ÂMy putting was better today,Â he said. ÂI took 29 after 32 yesterday, so itÂs getting better. ItÂs been a while since I took fewer than 30, so I was pleased.Â
It was a measure of the rest of his game that the longest birdie putt he had on that inward nine was just eight feet. ÂIÂve been hitting the ball well for a couple of weeks now, so it has been a matter of waiting for the putts to fall,Â he said.
He also had an eagle-three on the 496-metre 10th, with bogeys on six and 12.
Coetzee, on the other hand, started with six birdies in his opening 10 holes, showing that his brilliant seven-under-par the previous day on The Links was truly indicative of his potential.
Then came the trot of four bogeys from the 13th onwards.
ÂIÂm not worried about my game at all after those four bogeys,Â he said. ÂThereÂs no point in worrying about it, just as there is no point in looking forward and trying to imagine your score. IÂll just go out and play every shot as it comes.Â
He and Otto are well clear of the rest of the field, with Tyrone Mordt, Branden Grace and James Kingston on eight-under, four shots behind Otto.