Sunshine Tour

Lost ball no problem as Ritchie storms to Lusaka lead

2019-04-06 18:09
JC Ritchie (Gallo Images)
JC Ritchie (Gallo Images)

Lusaka - Losing a ball on the 10th hole on Saturday in the third round of the Zanaco Masters at Lusaka Golf Club was not enough to stop JC Ritchie storming to a two-stroke lead with a superb seven-under-par 66.

His only bogey of the day came on the 10th, but he more than made up for that with six birdies and an eagle as he moved to 15-under for the tournament.

He leads a trio of players - England duo Chris Cannon and Ross McGowan, and South Africa’s Jaco Ahlers – who shared second on 13-under at the 54-hole mark.

“I had an unlucky lost ball on 10, when the spotters didn’t see it, and made bogey there - I did lip out for par - but otherwise it was a terrific round,” said Ritchie.

“I’m very pleased with it. I felt it was easy for me. Two weeks of hard work on the range started to pay off today. I hit my irons a lot better than yesterday. I managed to play the par-fives a lot better today as well. I managed to keep the ball in play all day.”

On Lusaka Golf Club’s five par-fives, he made an eagle, two birdies, a par and that bogey on the 10th. That was after playing almost flawless golf around the front nine.

“Any time you turn under par after the front nine here, you’re happy, because it’s so tough and demanding,” he said.

“I turned three-under, and having the lost ball on the 10th dampened my spirits a little, but to jump straight back with two birdies and chipping in for eagle on 14 - that really got the round going nicely again.”

The round was just another in a long series of good ones for Ritchie, who is now in contention more often than not.

“It’s nice to finally feel as if I can contend every week,” he said.

“A few years ago, before my first win in Zimbabwe, I didn’t really know if I was going to carry on playing. I’ve been on a high since I won there.”

That high saw him erase a five-stroke lead that the halfway leader, Rhys Enoch of Wales, had on him.

“Starting the day five shots back is a big number, especially with the guys playing as well as they are,” said Ritchie.

“I thought a good 64-ish would get me right back in the mix. I saw some of the guys struggled a bit out there, so I’m really happy with seven-under today.”

Ahlers was one of the guys who struggled, as he carded a one-under 72 after his brilliant second round of eight-under.

“I completely lost my swing,” he said.

“It felt as if I was playing with a hosepipe.”

Nevertheless, Ahlers managed to keep in touch with the top of the leaderboard and headed to the range after his round to try and find the swing which had him playing so well in the second round.

Cannon went around without dropping a shot in his eight-under.

“I have been playing well for the last couple of day,” he said.

“I was just a little tidier today, and made a couple more putts, but nothing from length really.”

McGowan went round in five-under 67, after turning in one-over, and he will be looking to add a second Zambian title to his name after he won the 2015 Mopani Redpath Zambia Open at Nkana Golf Club.

But the way Ritchie was playing will make chasing him down tough.

“For tomorrow, it’s all about playing the game the way I play it, playing the course the way I want to play it and not really worrying about what happens ahead of me,” said Ritchie.

“They have to chase and not me. I feel comfortable. If I keep doing what I’m doing, I hope I can get another win.”

Scores:

204 - JC Ritchie 70 68 66

206 - Chris Cannon 70 71 65, Ross McGowan 70 68 68, Jaco Ahlers 68 66 72

207 - Garrick Higgo 71 69 67, Luke Jerling 68 71 68

208 - Michael Palmer 71 72 65, Daniel van Tonder 72 69 67, Rhys Enoch 68 65 75

209 - Merrick Bremner 73 68 68, Tristen Strydom 69 70 70

210 - Adilson Da Silva 71 69 70, Thriston Lawrence 72 67 71, Jaco Prinsloo 65 74 71, JJ Senekal 69 70 71

211 - Ryan Cairns 69 74 68, Sean Bradley 70 72 69, Rhys West 70 69 72

212 - Lyle Rowe 70 74 68, Ruan de Smidt 72 70 70, Keith Horne 69 73 70, Anthony Michael 72 69 71

213 - Jean Hugo 72 70 71, Madalitso Muthiya 71 71 71, Peetie van der Merwe 72 69 72, Pieter Moolman 71 70 72

214 - Vaughn Groenewald 72 74 68, Andre Nel 73 71 70, Louis Albertse 70 74 70, Hennie Otto 73 70 71, Kyle McClatchie 66 77 71, Trevor Fisher Jnr 71 72 71, Deon Germishuys 71 70 73, Rourke van der Spuy 67 70 77

215 - Luke Joy 74 72 69, Riekus Nortje 74 71 70, Jbe' Kruger 73 70 72, Titch Moore 70 72 73

216 - Ruan Huysamen 73 73 70, Ruan Conradie 71 74 71, Martin Rohwer 75 70 71, Scott Campbell 73 70 73, Chris Swanepoel 67 72 77

217 - Darin de Smidt 72 73 72, MJ Viljoen 71 74 72, Duane Keun 74 70 73, Steve Surry 70 74 73, Makhetha Mazibuko 74 70 73

218 - Philip Geerts 73 73 72, Andrew van der Knaap 71 72 75

219 - Jake Roos 73 73 73, Jonathan Agren 71 75 73, Tyrone Ryan 73 71 75, Roberto Lupini 72 70 77

220 - Bennie van der Merwe 74 71 75

221 - Herman Loubser 71 73 77, Fredrik From 73 70 78

222 - Jacques Blaauw 74 72 76, Jason Diab 73 72 77

223 - Michael Hollick 73 73 77, Mwalikwa Sondashi 70 75 78

224 - Toto Thimba 70 76 78, Matt Bright 73 72 79

225 - Sydney Wemba 71 73 81

227 - Juran Dreyer 72 74 81

Read more on:    sunshine tour  |  jc ritchie  |  golf

 

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