Cape Town - South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout holds a
commanding five-shot lead over Spain's Jon Rahm heading into the
final round of the Andalucia Masters.
The 25-year-old Bezuidenhout has been inching closer and closer to a
breakthrough win in Europe in recent months, including at last week's
BMW International Open where he finished a career-high third.
He's been able to carry that good form over to Valderrama this week,
where his solid, consistent play has seen him rise above the rest of the
Starting Saturday's third round with a four-shot lead, Bezuidenhout
ended it five in front after a gutsy two-under-par 69, showing few
signs of nerves or inexperience.
Birdies at the second, 10th and 16th holes were offset a lone bogey at the 14th, as he kept plenty of distance between
himself and his nearest challengers.
If Bezuidenhout is to triumph on Sunday, however, he will need to
hold off home favourite Rahm, who made his move with an impressive
five-under-par 67 on Saturday to lie in second place alongside Japan's
Hideto Tanihari, who also rose up the leaderboard thanks to a 68.
At 11th in the world, Rahm is ranked 262 places above
Bezuidenhout, and he'll fancy his chances of applying some
pressure on the final day.
"Going into Sunday with a five shot lead is definitely nice," said
"I’ll just keep playing my game and see how I finish up
"Rahm is a great player, he’s top 15 in the world and he’s a legend
in Spain so it will be quite an experience tomorrow. I haven’t played
with him yet so I’m looking forward to the challenge.
"It wasn't my best ball striking today. I made some great saves around
the turn through seven to nine, I got all three up-and-down there which
kept the momentum going.
"I birdied 10 which settled it for me a little bit and I made
another great save on 11. The score that I shot I'm really pleased
Belgian duo Thomas Detry and Nicolas Colsaerts are tied for fourth a
further two strokes behind Rahm and Tanihari, but at seven shots back
they have their work cut out for them.
As for two-time defending champion Sergio Garcia, he continued to
struggle after that sparkling opening 66, following up his second round
72 with a 73 to finish in a large group on two-under, eight back.