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Norris’ Asian success continuesShaun Norris’ solid start to the year continued this weekend when he finished in a share of second with Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira at the Asian Tour’s season opener, the SMBC Singapore Open. “l saw the scoreboard and I knew that I needed to make the birdie to finish tied-second,” said Norris of his thoughts on the last hole on Sunday. “Even though I had a tough first nine during the final round, I never stopped believing that I could get into a better position on the leaderboard. I always told myself, never give up until I've made that last putt on the last hole.” Following his share of 20th at the BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni, Norris teed it up at Sentosa Golf Club and carded rounds of 69-67-69 and 70 to get to a nine-under 275 total. That result catapulted him to first on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit after a single start and up 40 places on the Official World Golf Ranking where he was 151st last week and is 111th this week. Next up for the 36-year-old is the LeoPalace21 Myanmar Open, an event he has won before, and he will be looking forward to that with some degree of confidence. During the third round of his victory there in the 2016/17 season, Norris shot an impressive 11-under 61 to claim his maiden win on Asian soil. “I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of 2018,” Norris admitted. “My game is holding up. And, to be able to play with a player like Sergio, you really learn a lot.” In a year where he will be teeing it up in The Open at Carnoustie for a second successive season, Norris will want to up his game in what is already promising to be a good year for the 2008 Africa Open champion. He earned his spot at The Open via his third-place finish at the Joburg Open last month. Norris’ achievement so far in the East is a continuation from last season where he won once (JGT Championship Mori Building Cup at Shishido Hills) and made four top-10s. Among the local players who performed well this past week were Branden Grace, Dylan Frittelli and Richard Sterne who were doing duty at the Abu-Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. Grace’s rounds of 72-64-67 and 73 earned him a share of 15th on a 12-under-par 276 total while Frittelli and Sterne finished tied for 19th on 11-under for the tournament. Grace’s finish in Abu-Dhabi means he dropped a single spot on the official world golf ranking, from 28th to 29th, while Frittelli moves two places up from 53 to 51. Like Norris, Frittelli has already secured his spot at the 147th The Open Championship but he will be working hard keep going up the rankings as he aims to finish the year well inside the top 100.  
Rankings: How many can SA pack in the top 100?The start of a new year always brings new prospects and challenges, and for South African golfers doing duty abroad, a climb up the Official World Golf Rankings and getting inside the top 100 will be among those. Being in that top 100 is amongst the goals of many players because not only does it ensure elite status and probably some big-tournament invitations, but in some cases, it gets a player in a position that guarantees a start in many international events like the World Golf Championships events and the majors. Of South African players that are considered to be the ‘usual suspects’ in that list are major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, while Branden Grace is tipped to be the next major winner to come from these shores. Oosthuizen is currently ranked 24th while Schwartzel sits 10 places adrift. Grace, aided by his showing at last year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge and his second-place finish at the recently-concluded BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni occupies the 28th spot. Despite his disappointment at not winning his national championship, Grace is still one of the hottest players to come out of South Africa in recent times and he will want to solidify this by maintaining and even improving his position in the ranking. With the obvious candidates aside, a new, younger breed of South African golfers is coming out and names like Dylan Frittelli, Erik van Rooyen, Haydn Porteous and Jacques Kruyswijk, among others, are on everybody’s lips. Currently ranked 53rd and a recent graduate of the year from the Challenge Tour, Frittelli is on the European Tour after a successful maiden season where he won twice (Lyoness Open powered by ORGANIC+ and the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open). He is well-placed to finish within the top 50 should he be consistent for the length of the season. “I have got another six or seven tournaments before the Masters comes around so I have done my calculations with world rankings and things are looking rosy,” he said. “I’m not losing too many points in the next four to five weeks. I’ll be gaining points and everything I do I will just add to my points and hopefully get me inside that top 50.” Like Frittelli, Van Rooyen also has experience of travelling and playing golf courses around Europe, and that experience came through when he clinched his first Challenge Tour title in the Hainan Open in China. With 21 starts and seven missed cuts, Van Rooyen had two top-five finishes and six top-10s, a feat which clearly illustrates his ability to adapt to challenging climates and complicated travel schedules. “The Challenge Tour is not easy, but trying to get your European Tour card through the co-sanctioned events on the Sunshine Tour means you only have a limited number of attempts to secure it,” he said. “Of course, you can back yourself to win one of those, but I’d rather back myself throughout a whole season to know that I’m going to string together a couple of good events – and that’ what the Challenge Tour provides.” Sitting at 130th currently on the rankings, Van Rooyen started the year with the share of 20th he got last week at Glendower and is well-placed to move further up as he gains momentum in the new year. Most young South African golfers, like Porteous and Brandon Stone among others, have struggled in their breakthrough season abroad. “Last year was tough,” says Stone. “I’m not going to beat around the bush and I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Towards the beginning of October, towards the end of the season, I was finished. For the lack of a better expression, I was just burnt out, I was done and I was frustrated and I didn’t want to play.” Newcomers like Kruyswijk would have taken note of such struggles. Between navigating new and unfamiliar courses around Europe, youngsters are often challenged with the absence of close-by support and have to take a while to adapt. Kruyswijk had a taste of those challenges in his five starts on the Challenge Tour last year. He finished in a share of seventh at the Barclays Kenya Open and missed two cuts last year. However, after last week’s co-sanctioned BMW SA Open where he took a share of fourth, the 26 -year-old Centurion Country Club professional has seen his stock rise. He moved up 108 places, from 400 to 292 on the official world golf ranking and he might fancy his chances of finishing the year inside the top 100. A few top-10 finishes in some of the big events this season will see the big-hitting Kruyswijk moving up steadily but apart from having to adapt to a change of schedule, he must also deal with foreign weather conditions. He will feel, however, now that he has his full European Tour membership, there will be plenty of time for that as the events will be coming thick and fast in the next few months. Other players with an opportunity to finish the year within the top 100 include Richard Sterne (133), George Coetzee (135), Dean Burmester (141), Shaun Norris (151), Darren Fichardt (171), Porteous (177) and Stone who sits 10 places below Porteous. 2015: Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Jaco van Zyl and George Coetzee 2016: Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Brandon Stone and Richard Sterne 2017: Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Dylan Frittelli  
A season of firsts for Ritchie 1Back-to-back rounds of seven-under-par 65 in the final two rounds of last week’s BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni handed JC Ritchie his maiden top-five finish in a co-sanctioned event and marked the highlight of his season as the last few events of the campaign draw nearer. While the 2017-18 season brought a maiden Sunshine Tour win for Ritchie in the form of the 2017 Zimbabwe Open, the highlight for the 24-year old thus far is his third-place finish at last week’s BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni and co-sanctioned with the European Tour. “I’ve taken quite a bit of confidence out of my last few events,” said Ritchie of his finish at the second-oldest open championship in the world. “I haven’t really managed to score in those but I’ve played really well. I was 14-under for the weekend and I can’t really explain it, it’s pretty amazing” His last six results include a top-10 at Sun Boardwalk, two missed cuts and a top-30 at the Joburg Open where he finished 27th, while he came in at 32nd at the Vodacom Origins of Golf in St. Francis and 36th at Sun Sibaya Challenge. As massive an achievement as his finish was last week, Ritchie still misses out of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA because he is not a member of the European Tour. He was still happy with his finish at his national open championship. “That finish is pretty special for me,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to this event because I’ve played well at Glendower in the smaller events. And, the SA Open has always been a special event; the crowds, it’s been amazing. With the seasons that I have had, I had expected to have a finish like this soon and I’m glad it happened.” Now, with a solid start to the year as he has had, the reigning Zimbabwe Open champion will look forward to his title-defence when the new season begins in April. And, in his current form, who is to say a successful one is impossible?  
Rowe aims for Asian successSouth Africa’s Lyle Rowe has his sights set on making a name for himself on the Asian Tour after he earned his playing privileges via a gruelling five days of qualifying school. After rounds of 70, 70, 67, 77 and 69 at the Q-School Final Stage, he joins his countrymen Jbe’ Kruger, Shaun Norris and Keith Horne on that tour and says the prospect of playing new courses and facing new challenges was too exciting for him to ignore. “It was nice to see guys like Jbe’, Shaun and Keith doing well there,” he said of his interest in the East. “I had a few conversations with Keith at some of the (Vodacom) Origins tournaments and he told me how things were over there; how they take care of their players and how challenging it can be. So, I wanted to experience those opportunities.” He joins that tour off the back of a decent season on the Sunshine Tour where he has made seven top-20s, with his highlights including an eighth-place finish at the Vodacom of Origins in Sishen and a second spot at the Investec Royal Swazi Open. He currently sits 36th on the local Order of Merit after 19 tournaments. Like many players who have gone on to seek greener pastures in global golf, Rowe credits the Sunshine Tour for a solid foundation in terms of his golf development. “The Sunshine Tour is one of the greatest tours around,” he said. “The standard of competition is right up there with the best. There are not many tours like it so for me, it is one of the best tours to learn and become a competitive golfer.” He will know because players like Norris, while notwithstanding his achievements on the local circuit, have gone on to achieve a lot in Asia. So, for his short-term goals, Rowe aims to steady himself and learn as much as he can while also trying to keep his card. “My aim is to finish within the top 60 this season. “I don’t have a lot of support just yet since I am still trying to figure my way out there but once I settle, the aim is to play myself into the top 60 so I can keep my card,” he said. Rowe is no stranger to tough competition as he has tasted success twice on the Sunshine Tour. He is the 2014 Zambia Sugar Open champion and 2016 Golden Pilsner Zimbabwe Open.    
Flawless Paisley marches to BMW SA Open titleEngland’s Chris Paisley found it difficult to believe he had played that well after he carded a flawless final-round six-under-par 66 to take the BMW South African Open Championship proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni at Glendower Golf Club. His three-stroke victory over South African fan favourite Branden Grace broke local fans’ hearts, but it was a display that showed he was a worthy champion as the hometown charge ended up falling short of his brilliant efforts which netted him his first professional title. “I didn’t think I was capable of playing that well in that scenario,” said Paisley. “Just to go out and play that solid is amazing.” It looked likely that Grace was going to run away with the title after Paisley found his overnight one-shot lead erased as the South African started birdie-eagle to hit the front. Paisley, who had his wife Keri on his bag, had made birdie on two in a solid start, and found himself trailing. “I actually just looked over at Keri and just kind of laughed,” he said. “I started par-birdie which I was really happy with but he went birdie-eagle so, I mean there’s obviously a long way to go after that – still 16 holes – so I knew I just had to keep plugging away and hope for the best.” The best was good enough for five more birdies on his way to his win, while Grace made double-bogey five on the sixth and bogey on 12 to relinquish whatever edge he might have had over Paisley as Grace’s frustration at not being able to sink any meaningful putts grew. As the end drew nearer, Paisley also had to deal with a crowd that was increasingly vocal in its desire to see a South African champion crowned. “I actually enjoyed it,” he said. “They were obviously a lot louder for his good shots but that’s obviously understandable. I loved it. And as it became clear to them that I was going to win, they became very supportive, and I really appreciated it. And the reception they gave me as I walked up the 18th is something that I want to experience every time I play.” After Grace made bogey on 12, he threw the kitchen sink at Paisley in an attempt to catch him. He made eagle on 13, and consecutive birdies in 15 and 16. But birdies of his own on the homeward par-fives, the  13th and 15th, saw Paisley safely home. “He was flawless from the start to the end,” said Grace. “He was really great under the pressure. Every time I threw something at him, he responded, so it was good. It’s not the result I wanted but I will take the second on my first week back.” Behind Grace, Zimbabwe Open champion JC Ritchie carded a superb seven-under 65 to charge into third place, while Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent and the South African duo of Jacques Kruyswijk and Jacques Blaauw shared fourth spot. For Paisley, the significance of the victory is huge. “It’s kind of hard to think about that right now,” he said. “I’m just so happy with how the week went and to get the win, for not only myself and Keri, but for everyone that’s stood behind me. My family, my Mum and Dad, my brothers, my coaches that I’ve been with for a long time, Callaway for sticking with me.” He also has his name of the trophy of the second-oldest national open championship in the world.  
McClatchie grabs Freddie Tait Cup at GlendowerBy Lali Stander The large crowd ringside at the 18th at Glendower Golf Club cheered on popular Kyle McClatchie as he holed his final putt to capture the crown jewel of amateur golf – the Freddie Tait Cup – as the leading amateur in the BMW SA Open, proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni, on Sunday. Over the four rounds of the national championship, the 20-year-old Ekurhuleni native delivered a remarkably mature performance, carding controlled rounds of 68, 71, 68 and 71 to close out a top 15 finish on a 10-under-par 278 total. Englishman Chris Paisley fired a six-under 66 in the final round to beat the challenge of home favourite Branden Grace to win his first European Tour title by three shots on 21-under overall. While Paisley’s name is etched on the SA Open trophy, McClatchie’s name will follow below an illustrious list of former Freddie Tait Cup winners that include Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Jean Hugo, Hennie Otto, Branden Grace, Dylan Frittelli, Charl Schwartzel Brandon Stone. “For us amateurs, the SA Open, SA Stroke Play and Sanlam SA Amateur titles are the Hole Grail of golf and every amateur dreams of winning it,” said McClatchie. “I didn’t win the other two, so it’s really fantastic that I could win the Freddie Tait Cup before I leave the amateur ranks. This week was about testing myself on the biggest stage in South Africa, competing against the best golfers from the European and Sunshine Tours. I haven’t had many opportunities to play at this level and I wanted to push myself to see how high up the leaderboard I could go. “It’s an indescribable feeling to see my name up there in the top 15 with players that have won on the world stage and contested in Majors. For me, this week more than lived up to its billing. It was the four most incredible days and I will take a lot of confidence away from this experience.” Partnering Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, McClatchie went out in one-under. The slight breeze died down as the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate golfer started the back nine with three straight pars, birdied the par-five 13th but gave the advantage back at the next hole. “The highlight of my round was definitely the 15th hole,” said McClatchie. “I was in the fairway bunker after my tee shot. My second shot hit the lip and popped straight down. I got it out and had 109 metres left to the flag and I holed out for birdie.” The GolfRSA National Squad player said walking up to the final green took the sting out of the missed opportunity to tie for 12th after a late bogey at 17. “It was the most amazing experience to walk up and to see all the people and hear them cheering us on,” he said. “The atmosphere around the 18th was amazing; it was another first for me.” McClatchie had huge support from the local crowd, including fellow GolfRSA National Squad players Garrick Higgo and Matt Saulez. “I heard after my round that Matt ran straight from the 18th green to the first tee to wish me good luck and then went to hand in his scorecard,” McClatchie laughed. “This week was both an exhilarating and exhausting, because everything was so new. I really loved sharing the experience with my dad (Ryan) on the bag and big ups to him for keeping me calm. “To my mom (Wendy) and all the friends, family and fellow amateurs and GolfRSA National Squad players that walked with us and cheered me on, I am really grateful for all your support.” KwaZulu-Natal amateur Saulez closed with a 75 to finish at two over, while 17-year-old Garrick Higgo from Boland signed off with a one-under-par 287 after a final round 70.  
Nethunzwi, Thimba share emotional finish in BMW SA OpenBy Michael Vlismas The cheer that went up around the 18th at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday could’ve been mistaken for the winning putt in the BMW South African Open, hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni. But it came way before the leaders were even close to finishing. And yet it had everything to do with a triumph for South African golf. As they walked up the 18th fairway, Musiwalo Nethunzwi and playing partner Toto Thimba carried a South African flag between them and were cheered all the way to the green. On the stage of South Africa’s most prestigious golf tournament and the second oldest national Open in golf, both golfers made a powerful statement. Nethunzwi was playing in his first BMW South African Open. He marked this occasion by making the cut and going on to finish tied 51st on three under par with a final round of 70. His playing partner Thimba finished tied 67th on one over with a closing 74. Both are members of the Gary Player Class of 2017/18, the Sunshine Tour’s main development squad for historically disadvantaged professional golfers. It is the professional arm of a development structure that benefits from the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) and the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) as part of the collective golf development drive in this country. Nethunzwi is one of the major success stories of the SAGDB’s longstanding investment in his future. He was a top amateur and represented South Africa before turning professional, and he won on the Sunshine Big Easy Tour at Glendower last year. But there is no doubt that this performance at Glendower was a major moment for him. “I was a bit emotional over that last putt. Toto and I had just hit our second shots when my caddie pulled out the flag and handed it to us,” said Nethunzwi. “We were just so proud walking up 18 carrying that flag. Proud of our country and proud to be playing in the BMW South African Open, one of the greatest tournaments in world golf. I just kept pushing myself the whole week to play well, and I’m very happy with this performance. This is a big confidence boost for me.” Thimba felt similar emotions walking up 18. “It’s been a phenomenal week and we had such great support out there. It’s obviously a dream of mine to win the BMW SA Open one day, and it was such a privilege to play here.” Their success this week comes after another Gary Player Class member, Keenan Davidse, had an impressive 2017 in which he had four top 10s on the Sunshine Tour and also led the first round of the Joburg Open in December, a tri-sanctioned tournament between the Sunshine Tour, European Tour and Asian Tour. Davidse kept up that form with a finish of tied 43rd in the BMW SA Open on five under after a 68. “Keenan has been playing so well and that’s motivated the rest of us in the Gary Player Class. Hopefully my performance at the BMW SA Open will also inspire them,” said Nethunzwi. Judging by the cheer from the gallery on Sunday, it’s inspired more than just his fellow golfers.  
Blaauw needs to stay composed at GlendowerJacques Blaauw goes into the final round of the BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni three shots off the lead. And he’s fully aware that he needs to keep his cool at Glen dower Golf Club if he wants to win. He carded a third-round six-under-par 66 to move to 12-under for the tournament, behind leader Chris Paisley, and two behind the hard-chasing Branden Grace. Another round like that will give him a great shot at the title. “I’ve been in this situation a couple of times,” he said. “I can’t say I’ve dealt well with it in the past, but I don’t want to get in my own way.” He’s won four times on the Sunshine Tour, but getting the job done in one of the major events in the South African summer is something that has eluded him. “It’s just going to be positive thinking and I have a goal in mind for the final round,” he said. “It’s not a number in particular. What happens will happen, and if it happens to be good, then awesome. When you put yourself in contention more often, you get better with it.” He got into contention with seven birdies and an eagle in the third round. “I made an eagle on the par-four 12th,” he said. “I hit a fairway wood off the tee box and I knew right was no good. But if I’m in a bunker, at least I know I’ve got a chance. I caught a great lie and just popped it up and it managed to find the bottom of the hole.” He’ll be wanting some of that magic to ignite the crowds again in the final round. “It’s awesome playing in front of the home crowds,” he said. “It’s great to have so many people out here and rooting for you, calling your name when you make a putt.” He’s done well at Glendower before, and he knows what it takes to tame the course. “You need to hit good tee shots around here, and place yourself on the right side of the fairways,” he said. “From there you can go for the greens. If you miss a lot of fairways, you’re going to struggle to keep the ball on the greens because they are quite quick and you can’t make putts if you’re off the greens.” It’s all set up for a charge from him now. “The third round feels very good,” he said. “It’s big for confidence going into the final round. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I just want to do my thing and see what happens.”  
Schwartzel’s cool aids McClatchie into SA Open top 10By Lali Stander Ekurhuleni amateur Kyle McClatchie drew major inspiration from his childhood hero Charl Schwartzel to break into the top 10 in the third round of the BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni, on Saturday. The Serengeti golfer showed maturity beyond his 20 years as he navigated the demanding par-72 layout at Glendower Golf Club in 68 strokes playing alongside Schwartzel. He fired three birdies to offset a lone bogey and boxed a cracking putt for an eagle at the par-four 12th to land a share of 10th with compatriot JC Ritchie and European Tour campaigners Richard Bland from England, Vincent Scott from Zimbabwe, Spaniard Jorge Campillo, Frenchman Matthieu Pavon and Italian Renato Paratore on nine-under 207. McClatchie attributed his composure to the calm demeanour of the 2011 Masters champion. “I’ve never played in front of crowds like that and I was pretty nervous on the first tee and all the way down to the first green,” said McClatchie. “I’ve always admired Charl’s calm demeanour on the course and it was great to experience it first-hand. It helped me to relax. I was probably the most calm I have been all week and I used it to my advantage.” McClatchie matched Schwartzel with pars and a birdie at the second through the first six holes, but he dropped at the seventh. He got the shot back with a birdie at the par-five eighth and a birdie at 10 gave him a one-shot edge over Schwartzel, who bogeyed both holes around the turn. “I had a really solid round of golf; it was much better than the first couple of days when I hit it all over the show,” he said. “I made some very good putts today. After a nice birdie at 10, I hit a terrible 3-wood at 11 straight left and managed to get away with par. I got on the next tee and it was a 3-wood again. There is no point in playing for second place. I hit a great tee-shot to about 15 feet and made the putt.” Schwartzel recovered with birdies at 12, 13, 15 and 16 as McClatchie parred his way home, but he bogeyed 17 and a 69 put him at eight-under. “Some people are going to say I beat Charl Schwartzel, but I don’t look at it that way,” McClatchie said. “I learned so much from him in one round. It’s going to stand me in good stead in the future. Between shots we talked about a lot of things and he spoke to me about schedules and different strategies with turning pro. “Since I first met Charl when I was just five or six, his calmness on the golf course and even when he speaks has impressed me. That’s what you need out there and that’s something I will take away.” McClatchie holds an eight-shot lead over Matt Saulez from KwaZulu-Natal and he leads Garrick Higgo from Boland by 10 shots after both amateurs shot 76. He has one hand on the Freddie Tait Cup, which was first awarded to Bernard Wynne in 1929, and is 18 holes away from joining an elite list that includes Jock Verwey, Bobby Locke, Denis Hutchinson, Dale Hayes, Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Charl Schwartzel, Brandon Grace and Brandon Stone. But the leading amateur prize is the furthest thing from McClatchie’s mind. “I am trying not to think about it,” said the reigning English Men’s Stroke Play champion. “I haven’t had many opportunities to play in tournaments like this and I want to see how high up the leaderboard I can finish against these top guys first. I’ve pushed it to the back of my mind. It will be a great honour to win, but first I want to go up as high up as I can on Sunday.”  
Grace makes moving day count at GlendowerBranden Grace came from five shots behind the leading Chris Paisley in round three of the BMW SA Open and shot six-under 66 to total 14-under for the tournament, reducing that deficit to a single shot ahead of the final round at Glendower Golf Club. His front nine was not impressive by his lofty standards as he only managed to make a pair of birdies and an unwanted bogey on the ninth hole. “I got frustrated out there to be quite honest,” he said of his front nine. “I thought I hit the ball superbly through 13 holes, but just couldn’t get it in the hole. I think the putting stroke was a little bit quicker and I pushed and pulled a few.” He got his groove back after the turn with a par on the 10th that was followed by a birdie. He made another par on 12 and followed that up with yet another birdie on 13. He went on to make further gains as he birdied 15, 16 and 17 in a flawless back nine. “Zack told me the whole day, ‘You know, you’re hitting it well. Just stay patient and sooner or later it’s going to drop in,’,” Grace said. “I normally get on a little streak like that. When you make the one, you kind of feel that surge of adrenalin and you run with it a little bit. One thing led to another and there I was three or four birdies later.” Despite the frustration he felt through those holes on the front, Grace was always positive about his chances of a good finish. “Through 13 holes, I think I was five or six behind. I told myself to stay positive,” he said, “I was four or five behind going into the last day at the Nedbank, so I thought if I could get the margin pretty small, I could still have a chance. Now I’ve played myself right back into it and I’m really excited going into tomorrow.” Paisley, on the other hand, had a quiet and steady afternoon in which he made a single bogey and three birdies to get to 15-under. Tied with France’s Adrien Saddier at the top before the start of the round, the Englishman was not going to put any sort of pressure on himself in round three. “Yeah, obviously being tied for the lead isn’t a position I’ve been in a lot,” Paisley said. “I’m really proud with how I’ve played, I felt really calm and never really felt stressed. I drove the ball really well and I felt like I actually played better than yesterday – just didn’t really hole the putts.” In a share of third lie Jacques Blaauw, Chase Koepka and Saddier who are all 12-under while Darren Fichardt’s eight-under 64 catapulted him to 11-under and into sixth position. The trio of Denmark’s Jeff Winther, Trevor Fisher Jnr and Jacques Kruyswijk are all on 10-under-par.  
Fichardt’s 64 puts him in contention ahead of final roundDarren Fichardt carded a birdie-laden eight-under-par 64 in the third round of the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni to total 11-under for the tournament and move into contention ahead of the final round at Glendower Golf Club on Saturday. He opened his round with three consecutive pars that were followed by a birdie on the fourth hole. A bogey on the fifth threatened to derail his round but a par on the sixth seemed to steady his resolve as he went on to make birdies on seven, eight and nine to turn in 33. His back nine was unblemished as the 2016 Joburg Open champion made three back-to-back birdies from 12 through to 14 before making another par on the par-five 15th. He made further gains on 16 and 17 and closed off his impressive round with another par on 18. “I’m very happy because I started terribly today,” he said after his round. “I made a par on two which feels like a bogey. But it came together, I think it was on the eighth hole and it worked out pretty nice.” Despite his disappointment with that bogey he made on the fifth hole, Fichardt showed great form on Saturday and feels he could have gone on to make a few more birdies had there been more holes to play. “We had a bit of wait on the par-five 15 there,” he revealed. “The guys were looking for a ball and stuff and I just went out of rhythm a bit and hit a terrible four-iron and made a silly par there. Made a really good putt on 16 and a two on 17, I’ll take two there anytime and came close on 18. I wish I had more holes left because I feel like I could have birdied every hole today. So, I look forward to tomorrow.” He credits his mindset and putting game for the position in which he finds himself after three rounds of golf. “I started getting my shapes back,” he noted, “and then I was able to commit to my shots better and therefore I was hitting it a little harder and I wasn’t steering it around. And, the putter was good the whole week. All I needed to do was get myself into a good position and then the birdies would have fallen.” While he admits that the rough at Glendower was a little too thick for his liking, the 15-time Sunshine Tour winner had good things to say about the condition of the golf course. “The rough isn’t too great for me,” he said. “But, if you’re in the fairway, it’s unbelievable; second to none. The greens are the best I’ve seen. Very pure. There are low scores out there but you just have to avoid the rough.”    
Vincent credits qualifier for solid showingZimbabwe’s Scott Vincent shot a second round six-under 66 of the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni to get into contention ahead of moving day on a total eight-under for the week and credits the pre-qualifying round he played on Tuesday for his polished performance at Glendower Golf Club. Vincent had to battle it out with over 300 other golfers for a spot in the second oldest open championship in the world. He earned his spot following a four-under-par 68 round, one of nine that were up for grabs in the qualifiers. The 25-year old Colorado Golf Club professional now finds himself five shots off the pace set by England’s Chris Paisley and Adrien Saddier of France, who share the lead on 13-under for the tournament. “It’s obviously great to be here. I had to go and qualify so just being in the tournament was a huge plus for me,” Vincent said. “I can say being in that qualifier helps because you are, obviously, focused on bringing your game early in the week and hope it lasts the whole week. So, all in all, I think it’s helped me. It would be nice to get in without having to qualify but I’m happy where I’m standing right now.” He carded an opening round of two-under 70 at Glendower and followed that up with a 66 that consisted of seven birdies and a solitary bogey on the par-four 12th to move into a share of fourth with South Africa’s Branden Grace, America’s Chase Koepka and Retief Goosen going into the weekend. “It’s nice coming out here and playing some really good golf,” he said. “It’s a good way to start the year. The course is great; tough but in really good shape. The greens are fantastic.” While he is happy with how his game has been this week, Vincent is determined to work even harder in what could become a great start to the year if he can remain consistent over the next two rounds. “The putting has been great. I’m very, very happy with how that is. My iron play also has been very solid. The woods need a little bit work on, so I am going to hit the range and try to fix that a little bit. But, all in all, it’s not too bad,” he said.  

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