Saturday, January 10, 2015

Drysdale joint second with Fitzpatrick



Nuneaton's Andy Sullivan saw his dream of a first European Tour victory slide away from him with a third-round 74 for a 54-hole tally of six-under-210 with one round to go in the South African Open championship at Glendower Golf Club, Gauteng, Johannesburg.
The former Walker Cup man is T5 but seven shots behind the South African leader by five, Charl Schwartzel who shot a six-under 66 (31-35) today to hit the 13-under-par mark of 203.

Schwartzel, pictured right, has never won this title but he has a clear advantage over joint second placed Matthew Fitzpatrick, the former US amateur champion, and Scotland's David Drysdale.
Former Masters champion Schwartzel birdied the first four holes and admitted afterwards that victory in his native Johannesburg would be like winning a second major title.
"I don't think you can ask for a much better start, with a bunched leaderboard it's one way to get yourself separated from the field," said Schwartzel, who also led after 54 holes last year but finished fourth after a closing 71.
"I hit some really good shots but had quite a mixed bag with some really great shots and great saves, but some bad shots that maybe had some good breaks."
Schwartzel dropped his first shot of the day on the seventh but bounced back with birdies on the next two holes to be out in 31, while two three-putts on the par fives on the back nine - one for bogey, the other for par - meant he had to settle for an inward half of 35.
Asked about the importance of winning his national open for the first time, Schwartzel added on Sky Sports 4: "In the big world people look at the majors but coming from South Africa this is pretty much a major for South Africans. It will be nice to go out and keep swinging the way I am tomorrow."
Schwartzel began the day one shot behind Sullivan, but the pair experienced an amazing eight-shot swing in the first four holes.
World No 31 Schwartzel holed from 50 feet across the first green for birdie, from six feet on the second and 20 feet on the third before his approach to the fourth almost pitched straight into the hole and finished inches away.
That contrasted starkly with playing partner Sullivan's opening stretch, with the 27-year-old from Nuneaton failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker on the first before finding water with his second shot to the next.
Another bogey followed after missing the third green and, even when he found the middle of the fairway on the fourth, Sullivan's luck was firmly out as his ball finished in an old divot and led to a fourth straight bogey.
The former Walker Cup player stopped the rot with a birdie on the fifth and although a bogey on the ninth took him out in 40, he covered the back nine in 34 to keep his hopes of a first European Tour title barely alive.
Fitzpatrick had a 67 for eight-under 208 and Drysdale reached the same mark with a 68.
Drysdale had eight birdies today and has birdied 19 of his 54 holes so far. He came home in 33 for the third day in a row despite a double bogey 6 at the 10th.
The Cocksburnpath man birdied the second, sixth, ninth, 12th,13th, 14th, 16th and 18th and had bogeys at the third and fourth as well as his double at the 10th.
Paul Lawrie, who made the halfway cut with nothing to spare, failed to make any improvement in the third round in which he had three birdies (second, 15th and 17th) and four bogeys (fourth, seventh, 10th and 18th) in 73 for 219.
Live coverage of the final round starts Sunday at 1.30pm on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf.

Par 216 (3x72) Players from S Africa unless stated
203 Charl Schwartzel 68 69 66
208 Matthew Fitzpatrick (England) 73 68 67, David Drysdale (Scotland) 68 72 68
209 Lee Slattery (England) 70 74 65.
210 Paul Maddy (England) 71 71 68, Gary Stal (France) 75 66 69, Richard Sterne 67 74 69, Jared Harvey 71 69 70, Pablo Martin (Spain) 71 68 71,  Colin Nel 68 70 72, Lasse Jensen (Denmark) 67 71 72, Andy Sullivan (England) 66 70 74.

213 Ernie Els 67 77 69 (T20)
219 Paul Lawrie (Scotland) 71 75 73 (T58)





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