Local Lads Lead the Joburg Open, with Thomas Aiken and Justin Walters setting the pace at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.
Thomas Aiken / Getty Images
Thomas carded a -9 under par 63 over the East Course, which included one bogey, for a total of -17 under par at the end of play on day 3. He said he has been in final groups before and knows how to deal with the pressure;
“I’ve been in a lot of final groups, won twice in Europe and seven times on the Sunshine Tour, so I know what pressures there are going to be. If you just go and do what you do best, stick to your gameplan and take it shot by shot then the best golfer will win at the end of the day.”
I am not sure I believe the best golfer wins, sometimes Lady Luck has a hand, a good bounce or a bad one can make all the difference between winning and losing. As we have seen recently, the best time to put in a 63 is the last round.
Justin shot a -8 under par 64, with one bogey for his -17 under par total, and is aware that the last time he was in this position going into the final round he did not play too well. On the upside he was very happy with his Eagle at the last;
” I hit the ball so well today. Going into the day I just wanted to move forward a little bit, because my last attempt from this position I went quite backwards. I was aware of that and I made a strong effort to be aggressive today. I’ve got one more round tomorrow and I’m so happy that I’ve put myself into a strong position. I’m super excited for tomorrow, because it’s what we play for.”
” To hit a close one in there on the last and to hear the grandstand roar from way back down the fairway gives you the goosebumps, and that’s why we play. It’s nice to give people something to cheer about. Considering the situation I am in it was pretty vital, because giving him a nice lead on this course will make him hard to catch. Tomorrow is certainly a good opportunity, and I will be nervous, but hopefully I can improve on my record in South Africa.”
Jin Jeong is in third place at -15 under par for the tournament, a winner in Perth at the end of last year. Jin had five birdies, an Eagle and just one dropped shot in his round of -6 under par 66.
Overnight leaders Edoardo Molinari and Craig Lee could only manage rounds of 72 and 74 respectively and lost ground on the leaders. Edoardo now at -11 under par and Craig -9 under.
There are three Open Championship places on offer tomorrow for those not already exempt so the contest also looks set to go down to the wire.The only player in the top ten already qualified for Royal Liverpool France’s Grégory Bourdy.