15th December 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Jamieson edges ahead in tight Leopard Creek race
Scott Jamieson’s round of four-under-par 68 could so easily have slipped off the rail on Saturday, but he kept his head down the stretch at Leopard Creek after a double-bogey on 14 to take a one-stroke lead after the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
He made good on the slip-up on the 14th with a birdie on the par-five 15th and a rare one on the difficult par-three 16th. That kept him ahead of halfway leader David Lipsky, and three clear of the young South African duo of Zander Lombard and 2016 champion Brandon Stone.
“On 14, I hit a pretty good tee shot but it kind of fell into the bunker somehow,” said Jamieson. He was unable to avoid the inevitable dropped shot the mistake exacted, but he soon got things going again. “I played well after that to make a couple of birdies, so I’m really pleased.”
Jamieson held up under searing heat, getting his round going early on with a birdie on the second. He slipped back with a dropped shot on the short par-four sixth, but regained that stroke with a birdie on nine.
Then he made up for the drop in fine fashion with an eagle two on the 11th, where the tee had been brought forward to tempt the players into going for the green. Jamieson succumbed to the temptation with a splendid drive to the heart pf the green and made the remaining 12-footer for eagle to pull clear of the field.
“It was a solid day,” he said. “The front nine is the tougher nine. Obviously, you want to be making birdies but it’s easier to be patient out of the blocks, knowing that it’s a tougher nine.”
Lipsky had two bogeys and a double on his card, but he kept his head above water and himself in touch with the lead ahead of the final round with four birdies and an eagle. “I thought I had some good opportunities coming in but a double on 16 really put me in reverse,” he said. “But I finished strong, responded well and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Lombard made birdies on three of the four par-threes, but two bogeys and a double in four holes from the 14th put a spanner in the works of what could have been a brilliant round. The double came on the 16th, which was the toughest hole on the course on the day. “On 16, I was settling down and I just tried to pop a sand-wedge in and then it rolled out,” he said. “It actually rolled left, away from the water, I couldn’t believe that, so I left myself five-foot downhill for par, which is never nice to have.”
Stone was bogey-free, but frustrated that he didn’t make more putts on his way to a three-under 69. “I left a few shots out there,” he said. “Three-putted 11 for par, which always stings but overall, the game felt really solid like it has the last couple of days. It feels like I’m in a good spot going to Sunday.”
Of course, Jamieson is the player in the sights of the pursuers, and he knows it will be a tough final round. “The lead’s obviously a great place to be but I’m certainly not getting ahead of myself,” he said. “There’s an awful long way to go and a lot can happen in 18 holes, especially on this golf course, this back nine, where there’s so much risk and reward. If you’re looking to make eagle, you can make double pretty easily. There’s a long way to go and, hopefully, I can do it, but let’s see what happens.”