Fisher leads with Ford in hunt

The home favourite carded an eagle at the par-five third to go alongside seven birdies, including five from the last eight holes to elevate himself to the top of the leaderboard at East London GC.

“I played solid, but didn’t expect a 63 in such tough conditions,” Fisher said. “I’m delighted with my round today. I???ll play my own game and take it shot for shot.

“???l’ll try not to get ahead of myself too much, because that is the challenge in itself when you???re leading an event. I???ll put my head down and try tomorrow.”

South Africans have won all five tournaments since the event became co-sanctioned with the European Tour, although Ford heads into the final round still in contention to end that run despite his worst round of the week.

The overnight leader made a strong start by following a 35-foot birdie putt at the second with further gains at the third and seventh, but lost any advantage when he over-hit a bunker shot in to the rough for in a double-bogey at the eighth.

Ford picked up three further shots, including a monster putt at the 13th, before misjudging his putt at the next and missing a birdie-putt on the 15th to lose the lead.??

Last week???s Joburg Open runner-up, Jaco van Zyl, continued his fine week with a four-under 68 to stay within four of the lead.

Eduardo De La Riva ended a difficult third round level par to join a four-man group six shots adrift, with the Spaniard rescuing par at the first after finding the trees before making the first of three bogeys at the next.

De La Riva is joined on 10-under for the tournament by compatriot Jorge Campillo and John Parry, as well as Mortem Orum Madsen after the Dane fired a birdie-filled eight-under third round 64.

???I played extremely well and putted really solidly,??? Madsen said. ???It was nice to get a good, solid round in.???

Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren and Chile’s Mark Tullo are a further shot back on nine-under, with England’s David Howell posting a one-under 71 to join six players tied on eight-under.