Tyrone Mordt got on an early roll on Saturday and moved into a one-stroke lead ahead of the final round of the R1.2-million Nashua Masters being played at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.
After making par on the first hole, he made birdie on the 315-metre second, eagle on the 497-metre third, birdie on the very short 110-metre fourth and birdie on the 385-metre fifth.
At five-under through five, he was sitting pretty, and another birdie on the 505-metre seventh meant he was able to turn in 29 on the 5,807-metre par-70 layout.
After that, things went quiet for the 28-year-old nephew of former Springbok rugby great Ray Mordt, and he had eight pars and a double-bogey six on the 401-metre 14th to show for his efforts around the homeward nine.
ÂI donÂt know what happened there,Â he confessed. ÂI hit a perfect drive, and had a nine-iron in. I just hit it right into the bushes and three-putted for double. I must have just lost my concentration, because I hit the approach well enough. I must just have lined it up incorrectly.Â
But his early heroics were enough to give him a four-under 66 for a one-stroke edge over Shaun Norris as the 2008 Africa Open champion had an error-free round, with his eagle three on the 492-metre 16th vaulting him into contention.
It was a day on which the course was there for the taking after the brutal conditions Â wind and rain Â of the second round had made scoring very difficult.
With three players inside the top 20 carding six-under-par 64, and three more 65, the almost windless conditions seemed ideal for the leaders to carve out great chunks of a lead for themselves.
But MordtÂs playing partners Garth Mulroy and Darryn Lloyd were unable to get things going, and after carding rounds of two-over 72 and four-over 74 respectively, have found themselves with a mountain to climb if they are to pull off a victory.
Mulroy, in particular, struggled, and he had an especially bad time of it around the turn as he dropped six shots from the eighth to the 11th. And a double-bogey five on the 17th set him even further back, and, after starting one-stroke off the lead, he found himself with a five-stroke deficit going into the final round.
LloydÂs round saw him settle into a share of third at three-under-par for the tournament with Brandon Pieters, Jean Hugo, Theunis Spangenberg, Justin Harding and David Hewan.
They all have the wherewithal l with which to win, but Mordt, who is seeking his maiden professional victory, is determined to hand tough.
ÂIÂve been in contention once or twice before,Â he said, Âso tomorrow will not be a completely new experience.
ÂBut IÂm glad I had a tough back nine today, because I think it will help me grind things out if the going gets difficult in the final round.Â