29th June 2019 | Sunshine Tour
Ferreira hangs on as Thimba charges through in Nairobi
Stephen Ferreira’s domination of the KCB Karen Masters continued on day three of the tournament where he signed for a 68 to stay perched at the top of the leaderboard, albeit with a slender lead, on 20-under-par going into the final round at Karen Country Club.
In a fashion similar to the previous two rounds where he picked up back-to-back birdies on the first few holes, the Zimbabwean made three birdies on the row after making a par on the first hole. Those were followed by two more pars before making an unwelcomed birdie, thanks to a three-putt on the par-three seventh. He would not make another birdie or bogey on the front nine as he turned in 34. Two pars after the turn were followed by a birdie on the par-five 12th and another one on 14.
Another bogey, this time on the par-five 15th, made its way onto his card before he went par, par and birdie in the last three holes of the round.
“I felt like I was running because it was a bit too pacey for me, you know, obviously, it being a two-ball,” he said after the round. “But the round went decent. I played really solidly; just two silly bogeys; two little three-putts but other than that, I hit the ball great and putted well despite those two little three-putts.
“It was good fun going head-to-head with Toto (Thimba Jnr). He putted brilliantly and made putts left, right and centre. I think we kept each other going. It was good fun out there.”
In another exhibition of great confidence and fine form, Thimba carded an untainted six-under-par 66 to total 19-under and narrow the Zimbabwean’s lead to just a single stroke. On the front stretch, the member of the Gary Player Class made gains on the second, the fourth and the eighth hole. Homewards, he picked up consecutive birdies on 11 and 12 before making another on that par-five 15th before closing with three pars.
“I was so relaxed,” said Thimba who plays out of Silverlakes Golf Club in Pretoria. “I actually play very well under pressure and today I stuck to my game plan and didn’t change anything. I was putting really well so I can’t complain.”
With an exciting final round anticipated in Nairobi where both he and Ferreira have a real chance of winning – and that’s not discounting the charge being made by JC Ritchie (14-under) and Garrick Higgo (13-under) – Thimba was bullish about his prospects in the capital of Kenya.
“I’m not playing against him (Ferreira),” Thimba clarified, “I’m playing against the course and my goal is always to beat the course. If I do that I will win. I want to win it and I feel good about myself.”