Oosthuizen stalks Gar­cia

18th hole birdie gives ‘King Louis’ a much-needed boost at Sun City Chal­lenge

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - MICHAEL GREEN LEAD­ING SCCORES:

IT WAS al­most “anti-mov­ing day” in the third round of the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge as Ser­gio Gar­cia emerged from a day of at­tri­tion with a lead of just two strokes af­ter his one-un­der-par 71 at Gary Player Coun­try Club.

The Spa­niard has been in front since the first round and looked as if he was go­ing to be fur­ther in front head­ing into the fi­nal round un­til un­timely bo­geys on the 13th and 18th holes saw his mo­men­tum halted, while South African Louis Oosthuizen’s birdie on 18 put him in touch with the lead.

“I feel like I played pretty well,” said Gar­cia.

“Again, I put the ball in play nicely through­out the day. Just un­for­tu­nately pulled it a lit­tle bit on 18; not an easy tee shot into the wind on the left. But other than that, I felt like I did quite well.

“Two or three more putts could have rolled in and it would have been a re­ally good round in very tough con­di­tions, and you know, other than that, I felt like I man­aged my game quite nicely and shooting un­der par, it’s al­ways a good thing.”

He started his round with birdies on two and three, and with home favourite Oosthuizen seem­ing ill at ease with his game on the day and mak­ing pars all the way un­til he dropped a shot on the sev­enth, his lead looked se­cure.

The threat to Gar­cia looked to be com­ing from fur­ther be­hind, with Bel­gian Thomas Detry and Eng­land’s Ross Fisher mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant moves up the leader­board.

Detry carded a four-un­der-par 68 to fin­ish the day in a share of third with two-time cham­pion Lee West­wood and Finn Mikko Korho­nen.

Fisher’s five-un­der 67 was the best round of the day, and he goes into the fi­nal round in sixth, one ahead of Dar­ren Fichardt of South Africa.

Gar­cia, like West­wood, is a twotime cham­pion at Sun City, but he’s not sure that’s sig­nif­i­cant at all.

“I don’t think it’s any ad­van­tage,” he said.

“It’s some­thing that you have in your pocket I guess, but once you’re out there, it’s tough for ev­ery­one, and win­ning here doesn’t mean that it’s eas­ier for you to do it. You know, every tour­na­ment is tough and this one is no dif­fer­ent.”

Oosthuizen is chas­ing his first vic­tory at Sun City, and it’s one which is much cov­eted by every South African. He worked hard to stay in touch af­ter feel­ing early on that things were not go­ing to be easy for him on the day.

“I re­alised early on that it was a round I needed to keep to­gether and not re­ally blow my­self out of the tour­na­ment,” he said.

“I hung in there nicely. Th­ese are the rounds you take a lot of pos­i­tive out; if you don’t play well and you’re still in it to win.

“You know, the birdie on the last was a big mo­men­tum shift for me go­ing into to­mor­row, and two be­hind is a lot bet­ter than four be­hind.

“But yeah, it was a tough day. I just need to dial in a bit to­mor­row and hope­fully hit it a lit­tle bet­ter.”

For Gar­cia, how­ever, it will be more of the same.

“I know the course is go­ing to be play­ing tough again,” he said. “I’m go­ing to go out and try to shoot un­der par like I’ve done all three days. I think I’m go­ing to see if I can shoot be­low 70 and see if that’s good enough.”

206 - Ser­gio Gar­cia 64 71 71

208 - Louis Oosthuizen 69 67 72

209 - Thomas Detry 75 66 68, Lee West­wood 71 69 69, Mikko Korho­nen 68 70 71

210 - Ross Fisher 71 72 67

212 - Dar­ren Fichardt 74 67 71

213 - Ben­jamin He­bert 69 75 69, Dean Burmester 72 71 70, Mike Lorenzo-Vera 68 73 72

214 - Ni­co­las Col­saerts 75 69 70, Matt Wal­lace 69 72 73, Shane Lowry 71 69 74 215 - Ja­son Scrivener 69 76 70, Matthew Fitz­patrick 71 71 73, Andrew John­ston 73 69 73, Bran­den Grace 70 71 74, Aaron Rai 72 68 75, Dy­lan Frit­telli 73 67 75

216 - Martin Kaymer 76 69 71, Charl Schwartzel 68 78 70, Richard Sterne 77 69 70, Oliver Fisher 75 70 71, Rory McIl­roy 72 71 73, Ashun Wu 69 73 74, Andrea Pa­van 71 70 75, Hao­tong Li 71 70 75

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