Scott targets Durban double
Glaswegian Scott Jamieson stormed into a five-stroke lead of the Volvo Golf Champions at a wet Durban Country Club on Saturday after a third round of 68 saw him reach 15 under par.
Overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen endured a horror front nine of 40, but four birdies on the back nine helped him resurrect a 74 to leave him in a three-way share of second at 10-under with Frenchman Julien Quesne (67) and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand (73).
Jamieson, who claimed his maiden victory five weeks ago at the Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban, began his round in overcast conditions with a bogey at the first hole.
A birdie at the second was offset by another bogey at the par-three fourth. But as the rain began to pour down on the par-five eighth hole, the Scot clicked into gear.
A glorious iron shot from 198 metres left him just six feet for eagle, and he duly converted.
He later holed a chip at the par-four 11th which began a run of three consecutive birdies, and, although a wayward approach at the 17th cost him a shot, he recovered with a chip-and-putt birdie at the 18th to restore his five-stroke cushion.
“I didn't play as well as I did the first two days, especially yesterday from tee to green,” he said after his round. “But I managed to score well, which is the main thing. I’m delighted to be in the position I'm in.
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“The eighth is definitely what got me kick started. I hit a great tee shot and then I was in the middle of the fairway and thought to myself that I had a good chance at birdie. I hit a great shot to five or six feet and holed it.
"On 11, I was possibly looking at a bogey and managed to chip in for a birdie. So that was perhaps a little bit of a steal, but it kept up my momentum.”
Jamieson’s maiden win in Durban last month came under very different circumstances, as an eight-under-par final round there edged him into a three-way playoff, which he clinched on the second hole of sudden death.
However, despite now enjoying such a significant advantage, the 29-year-old believes the experience from his last win will help him deal with the pressure of being chased.
“It’s obviously slightly different circumstances, but I was very grateful that I got to the playoff and then won. I gained a lot of experience, and had I shot one better in the morning and not gotten to experience a playoff, then I wouldn't have learned as much,” Jamieson said.
“There's still a long way to go, so I will just stick to my game plan as best I can. We'll see if I'm here tomorrow night,” he added.
It had looked as though it would be a three-horse race when the day began, with Oosthuizen one stroke clear of Jamieson and Jaidee, and seven strokes clear of a group of six players in fourth place.
However, Oosthuizen, who was dogged by poor ball-striking all day, bogeyed the par-three second and fourth holes to see his lead evaporate.
Further bogeys at the seventh and eighth holes saw him slip all the way back to eight-under, but some crucial birdie putts and par saves on the back nine kept him in contention.
Quesne had started the day in the group of six at five-under, but seven birdies and an eagle propelled the Frenchman into the final two-ball tomorrow.
“I’ve played very well this week,” he noted. “I knew that I could have a low score on this course. It suits my game because it is tricky. My driving has been good this week, and my putting too.
“I didn’t feel too bad in the conditions. I like playing with the wind, so it’s good for my game. I have a low trajectory, so I can control the ball well on days like today. I feel good about my chances tomorrow.”
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington scorched the back nine with a 31, and his 67 left him tied for fifth at eight-under with Italian Francesco Molinari (68).