Colsaerts back into contention

2012-01-21 17:29

George - Long-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts powered his way back into contention with a four- under-par 69 in the third round of the Volvo Golf Champions tournament at The Links at Fancourt on Saturday.

Colsaerts was tied for the lead with second round leader Branden Grace on ten-under-par 209 at the end of a day when scoring soared in rain and gusting wind.

South African Major winners Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen were tied for third on nine-under. Masters champion Schwartzel shot a best- of-the-day 68. Spanish veteran Jose Maria Olazabal remained in contention on eight-under despite a double bogey on the par-three 17th.

Colsaerts, who followed a course record 64 in the first round before slumping to a 76 on Friday, said: "I was really glad that I put another good round together today after yesterday. It's always difficult when you play that good on a course like this and nothing goes according to plan."

Conditions were much more difficult than on the first two days, although the rain ceased when the leading players were midway through their rounds.

Schwartzel said the tougher conditions favoured South African players who were familiar with The Links. "I said at the beginning of the week that it is a golf course you need to know well. The first two days were pretty easy but it just shows that with a little change in the weather it is a completely different golf course."

Schwartzel needed physiotherapy before his round because of pain in his right elbow. "I hit maybe ten balls on the range. It was just the nerve that was a bit tight. So I ran into the physio just before I teed off. I never felt it on the golf course."

While other players struggled, Schwartzel hit "flawless shot after flawless shot" and said he hoped conditions would be tricky again on Sunday. "The tougher the better," he said.

Double, triple and even quadruple bogeys were commonplace, with Spain's Pablo Martin the worst affected as he ballooned to a 17-over- par 90, which included a quadruple bogey eight on the 10th, a triple bogey seven on the 14th and four double bogeys.

England's Lee Slattery, who started the day in joint second place, made a horror start, losing a ball when his first tee shot disappeared in deep rough leading to a triple bogey seven, which he followed with a double bogey six at the third. He finished with a 77 to be six off the pace.

Playing partner Grace also started shakily, dropping three shots over the first seven holes before recovering with birdies on the ninth and 11th. But he had two double bogeys on the back nine which were offset by four birdies.

Scores after the third round of the Volvo Golf Champions tournament over the par-73, 6,652- metre The Links at Fancourt course on Saturday:

209 - Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 64-76-69, Branden Grace (RSA) 68-66-75

210 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 75-67-68, Retief Goosen (RSA) 72-68-70

211 - Jose Maria Olazabal (ESP) 71-68-72

212 - Padraig Harrington (IRL) 69-73-70, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)


213 - Ernie Els (RSA) 71-71-71

214 - Paul Lawrie (SCO) 72-68-74, Alexander Noren (SWE) 72-68-74

215 - Darren Clarke (NIR) 74-68-73, Thomas Aiken (RSA) 68-70-77, Lee Slattery (ENG) 73-65-77

216 - Robert Karlsson (SWE) 74-70-72, Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 71-70-75, Hennie Otto (RSA) 71-69-76

217 - David Horsey (ENG) 69-72-76, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 71-69-77

218 - Oliver Fisher (ENG) 77-72-69, SSP Chowrasia (IND) 75-71-72, Simon Dyson (ENG) 75-70-73, Joost Luiten (NED) 69-72-77

219 - Tom Lewis (ENG) 68-74-77

220 - Garth Mulroy (RSA) 71-73-76

222 - Matthew Zions (AUS) 70-75-77, Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 71-72-79, Robert Rock (ENG) 73-70-79