“Today was a hectic day for me. I was scrambling around and saving pars, so I am happy with the result and a little bit surprised. The course is really challenging and I’m glad to walk away in the lead,” he said.
The Modderfontein Golf Club professional was comfortable out in front at Crown Mines Golf Club and joined Neo Thubisi in a share of the lead. Kenneth Dube and John Bele led the chase in a share of third on one-under.
“I’m looking at playing well tomorrow,” said Bujela. “If I can improve my course management then I’ll have a good chance at getting the result I want. There is nothing that’s better than being up there.”
The 23-year-old finished fourth at Vusi Ngubeni in 2013 and has enjoyed success on the Sunshine Tour, most notably with his share of 21st at the Zambia Open in May. This week he wants to win, but the primary objective is to earn one of the 15 Sunshine Tour cards on offer. A further 25 Big Easy Tour cards are available for the players finishing 16th to 40th.
Mpho Mafishe was the leading amateur at the 54-hole mark after shooting 75 on Thursday for a four-over-par total. He began the day tied for eighth one one-over and continued to impress during the third round. Playing on the Sunshine Tour has been a lifelong dream for Mafishe, who first gripped a club at the age of 12.
“It was a bit nerve wracking this morning, but this has been a good experience. Playing on the Sunshine Tour was my childhood dream – I always saw myself as one of the top pros in South Africa, and this is the first part of that journey,” he said.
Thubisi began the day three off the pace and was keen to keep sight of the lead, which he achieved by carding 71 on Thursday. The highlight of his round came at the 10th, where he sank a 12-foot putt for birdie and started to believe he could win this week.
“After 10 it felt like everything was working – I was hitting the ball nicely and I’m satisfied with my play today. I’m trying my level best to win it, because I enjoy this course and I know where to hit it,” he said.