Oosthuizen hot on heels of Ned­bank leader Gar­cia

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Fer­gio Gar­cia bo­geyed the par-four 18th and Louis Oosthuizen birdied the hole, pro­vid­ing a vi­tal life­line for the South African yes­ter­day af­ter the third round of the Ned­bank Chal­lenge in Sun City. The Spa­niard goes into to­day’s fi­nal round as the wire-to-wire leader, his one-un­der-par 71 lift­ing him to a 10-un­der-par to­tal of 206, with Oosthuizen two shots be­hind af­ter his birdie on the par­four last took him to a level-par 72 and eight-un­der over­all. Star at­trac­tion Rory McIl­roy from North­ern Ire­land, ranked sixth in the world, shot a one-over 73 at the Gary Player Coun­try Club in north­west­ern South Africa and is 10 shots be­hind.

Oosthuizen could eas­ily have gone into the fi­nal round with a four-stroke deficit but for Gar­cia send­ing his sec­ond shot out of the 18th hole rough into a grand­stand. He re­ceived a free drop, but was un­able to get up and down for par. Oosthuizen re­ceived a lucky bounce with his sec­ond shot and the ball rolled within eight feet of the hole. The 2010 Bri­tish Open win­ner calmly slot­ted the putt for just his sec­ond birdie of the day to fin­ish a round which was mostly a struggle.

“It was a very big three for me, given the way I was play­ing. A two-shot swing on the last is great go­ing into the fi­nal round,” said Oosthuizen. “Men­tally it was a very big putt for me af­ter a re­ally lucky break with the ball rolling all the way down to the hole from the fringe. I’m ec­static that I’m just two be­hind.

“From the get-go to­day I couldn’t do any­thing re­ally, but I quickly re­alised that it was a day to not play my­self out of con­tention.

“I had to take pars with the wind all over the place and I was very glad to fin­ish level-par. I just wasn’t re­ally giv­ing my­self good enough birdie op­por­tu­ni­ties.” Gar­cia started well with birdies on the sec­ond and third holes, but his for­tunes sub­sided there­after as he played the next 15 holes in one-over, drop­ping shots on the par-four 13th and 18th while birdieing the par­four 17th.

“It’s a tough golf course, sim­ple as that, and it’s get­ting tougher every day. For me it was just more of the same and shooting un­der par here is al­ways great.”

LEAD­ING SCORES AF­TER ROUND III

206 — Ser­gio Gar­cia (ESP) 64-71-71

208 — Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 69-67-72

209 — Thomas Detry (BEL) 7566-68, Mikko Korho­nen (FIN) 68-70-71, Lee West­wood (ENG) 71-69-69

210 — Ross Fisher (ENG) 7172-67 212 — Dar­ren Fichardt (RSA) 74-67-71

213 — Dean Burmester (RSA) 7271-70, Ben­jamin He­bert (FRA) 69-75-69, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) 68-73-72

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