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Golf | SA

Jorge charges up the leaderboard



The first five years of the Africa Open Golf Challenge have all produced a South African winner, and with a leaderboard dominated by golfers from local shores, there’s every chance of it happening again.

But one man looking to buck that trend is Spain’s Jorge Campillo, whose nine-under round of 63 on day three at East London Golf Club has seen him catapult up to a share of third place on 10 under for the tournament – just four strokes adrift of leader Adilson da Silva before he teed off.

“Yeah I played really well, and I finished it off really well too,” Campillo said. “I made a silly bogey on 14 though. I had 149 to the pin from the middle of the fairway, and it was a little into the wind. But I hit it just short of the green on the right. It was an easy chip, and I even took the flag out to have a go. But I left it four feet short of the hole, and I missed it. But that was my only mistake and I’m still really happy with my round.”

The bogey was handily offset by eight birdies and an eagle on the par-five 15th, and, having made the cut with only one stroke to spare after opening rounds of 73 and 70, the 26-year-old got off to a scorching start as he compiled four successive birdies in the first four holes.

“The first few holes here are easy. You have to make some birdies I think, especially on one and three. I made easy birdies on those two par fives, but on two I actually putted around the lip of the bunker so I was lucky there. It was a tough shot I had there. The pin was just at the back, and I was down the slope so the only chance I had to get it close was with a putter. So I hit around the bunker, up the hill, down the hill, and then into the hole so that was pretty nice, but lucky too,” he smiled.

“And then I made a good birdie on four too. The course looks easy at the start but then you have much tougher holes from the eighth to the 12th, so you have to hang in there. But I did and I finished well after that.”

Since turning pro in 2009, the smooth-swinging Campillo has hardly had it all his own way, and was forced to ply his trade on the Challenge Tour for three years before gaining his European Tour card for the 2012 season. His breakthrough came at the Avantha Masters, where a final round of 67 saw him finish just two strokes behind South Africa’s Jbe Kruger in second place.

It was one of many sizeable pay cheques that elevated him to a 69th-place finish in the 2012 Race to Dubai standings, but the Spaniard believes that a first European Tour title could still be within his reach this week.

“It’s my second time playing here at East London. I played decently last year and finished about 30th or something. But the course is fun to play – I like playing around here,” Campillo said.

“It’s going to be difficult though, because everyone is going to shoot lower today. It’s playing easier than the first two days, so I’m going to be a few, maybe four or five behind going into tomorrow. But if I can play like I did today, then you never know – I might have a chance!” he added with a smile.

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