Pretoria - Ross Fisher has moved closer to a first European Tour triumph in four
years by taking a five-shot lead on Saturday after three rounds of the
The 33-year-old English golfer, whose last title was
the 2010 Irish Open, fired a 67 at The Els Club Copperleaf west of
Highveld city Pretoria.
His see-saw front nine produced five
birdies and two bogeys and he claimed another two birdies on the back
nine of the 7,281-metre (7,964-yard) layout.
Fisher, a stroke
ahead at the halfway stage of the 1.5 million euro ($2.1 million) event,
carded a five-under-par 67 for a 198 total after 54 holes.
82 in the world, Fisher is aiming for a top-50 place soon and has no
intention of playing safe on Sunday in the final round.
like I belong in the top 50 -- I have been there before but struggled
during the past few seasons to return," said the four-time European Tour
"I'm certainly not going out tomorrow (Sunday) to hit
fairways and greens and make pars. I want to force the other guys to
shoot a silly-low score to beat me.
"I feel like I am playing as
good as I ever have -- similar to 2010 when I was contending for Majors
and got myself into the Ryder Cup team."
Michael Hoey from
Northern Ireland, who climbed into contention Friday with seven
consecutive back-nine birdies, lies second after a mixed third trek over
the longest European Tour course.
Like Fisher, Hoey delivered a
mix of birdies (six) and bogeys (three) in the second edition of the
Tshwane Open, which South African Dawie van der Walt won last year.
Simon Dyson, who shared the opening-round lead, and Spaniard Carlos Del
Moral lie third on 204, six shots adrift of Fisher.
manage only a one-under 71 composed of three birdies, two bogeys and 13
pars over a course designed by South African quadruple Major champion
Del Moral, seeking his maiden European victory, also
had a three birdie-two bogey round of 71 on a day when wet weather
replaced a sunny opening half of the tournament.
A group of seven
golfers on 205 -- seven shots behind Fisher -- includes Italian Edoardo
Molinari (70) and Irishman Kevin Phelan (68).
Rock is a shot further back after the best third round -- a 65 that
included 10 birdies and a triple-bogey six at the penultimate hole.
Leading scores after third round of European Tour-Sunshine Tour
co-sanctioned Tshwane Open (RSA unless
198 - Ross Fisher (ENG) 66-65-67
203 - Michael Hoey (NIR) 69-65-69
204 - Simon Dyson (ENG) 65-68-71, Carlos Del Moral (ESP) 68-65-71
- Merrick Bremner 69-69-67, Darren Fichardt 66-68-71, Trevor Fisher jnr
65-69-71, Edoardo Molinari (ITA) 70-65-70, Hennie Otto 71-65-69, Kevin
Phelan (IRL) 68-69-68, Danie van Tonder 66-70-69
206 - Oliver Bekker 70-67-69, Robert Rock (ENG) 70-71-65, Jake Roos 69-65-72