Coetsee retains Joburg lead

The overnight leader birdied the last hole of his third round to cap a two-under 70 which took him to 14 under par overall – two clear of compatriots??Jacques Blaauw??and Tjaart van der Walt as well as English pair Steve Webster and David Howell.

Webster made the biggest move of the third round, storming 51 places up the leaderboard with a superb seven-under 65 on the tough East Course at the??Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Club.

The 40-year-old raced out of the blocks with five birdies over the first eight holes, and he followed a solid run of seven pars with further birdies at 16 and 18 to set a testing early clubhouse target at 12 under.

“I made a good birdie at the first and a good save at the second and just got on a bit of a roll,” said Webster, who has not won on the European Tour since the 2007 Portugal Masters.

“I missed three or four 12-footers which was frustrating but there was a lot of really good golf today. I gave myself a lot of chances and that’s what my game is all about.”

Webster later had company when??Blaauw, who birdied the first four holes, completed a five-under 67 before Howell returned a 68 featuring five birdies and just one blemish at the 14th.

Van Der Walt recovered from an early double-bogey at the third to salvage a 71, while Coetsee rallied after dropping his second shot of the day at the 10th to slip to 11 under.

Coetsee, a two-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, reeled off three straight birdies from the 11th before giving one back at the 16th, but he made a well-crafted four at the long last to double his lead over the chasing pack.

The 42-year-old journeyman admitted he had struggled with the putter early on, three-putting the first and the fourth, but he remained positive throughout the round.

“The first tee shot there were no nerves, the six iron into the middle of the green there were no nerves, but once I grabbed that putter there was no feel,” Coetsee admitted. “I three-putted but after that there were no nerves.

“You need to keep a positive mind, me and my caddie are enjoying it out there??and hopefully we can tomorrow.

“There is a lot at stake, more than you can think of, but it’s just a game at??the end of the day. Last night I only slept for about four hours but tonight I??think I’m going to have a lot of sleep.”

Simon Dyson lost ground on the leaders after grinding out an erratic 72, but goes into Sunday just three off the lead along with fellow Englishman Anthony Wall, who reached 13 under after back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 before he bogeyed the next two and could only par the last to post a 71.

Pre-tournament favourite and defending champion George Coetzee is also at 11 under after a mixed-bag of a 69, while Thomas Aiken, Garth Mulroy, Anthony Michael and Chris Swanepoel increased the heavy South African presence in the top 10.

South African Open winner Andy Sullivan is also past of the nine-way share of sixth place after he birdied two of the last three to complete an excellent 68, while Paul Waring went one better on the day and kept a bogey off his faultless, five-birdie card.

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