George Coetzee © Gallo Images
There may have been times when George Coetzee would have let a bogey and a double-bogey within three holes get him down, but that didn’t happen on Saturday as he posted a two-under-par 70 to pull into a four-way share of the lead in the Dimension Data Pro-Am.
The defending champion posted his score on the Montagu layout at Fancourt Hotel and Golf Estate, and, after his other two rounds on Outeniqua and The Links, he and the rest of the players will play their final round on Montagu. He’s in the lead together with England’s Chris Lloyd, Chris Swanepoel and Jean Hugo.
“I played really well today,” said Coetzee. “I actually started off nicely with a birdie on the first and the fourth and then I had a bad hole. It took me a while to get my head together, and I had another bad hole in that time. But I was quite happy with the processes I went through and I got back in the zone and I played pretty good golf on the back nine again.
“That’s kind of the stuff I’m working on mentally. Mistakes are going to happen. It’s just how you react to them and hopefully I’ll have very few to deal with tomorrow. If I have, I hope I’ll do the same as today.”
Earlier in the day, Lloyd, who is making a comeback to golf after a stint working for a roofing company in England, also overcame a bogey and a double-bogey on Montagu to post a fine six-under-par 66.
“I’m very happy with the way it’s going,” said Lloyd. “This is my first tournament of the year. I’ve put in some good work over the last couple of months, so I’m very happy to be – at the moment – co-leader going into tomorrow.”
Swanepoel and Hugo played their third rounds on Outeniqua, and, while Swanepoel hit all 18 greens in regulation, Hugo also had to deal with a bogey and a double on his card.
“It’s only the second time in my life that I have hit 18 greens,” Swanepoel said, “I have been hitting it very well these past couple of weeks. I just struggled with the putting, but the last couple of days the putts just went in. Today I left a couple short but the majority of them just went in.”
With that four-way share for the lead, and 22 other players within four shots of that lead, Coetzee knows he’s in for a battle if he is to successfully defend his title and become just the third player after Nick Price and Darren Fichardt to win the trophy twice.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to this week for most of last year, but you can’t get too far ahead of yourself. I’m not even thinking of the fact that I won it last year. I’m just trying to play good enough golf and hopefully post a good enough number.”