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Golf | SA

Andy Sullivan © Gallo Images

Sullivan lights up Leopard Creek

Andy Sullivan lit up the course at this year’s Alfred Dunhill Championship with a searing round of eight-under par in cool and calm conditions in the third round at the Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane on Saturday.

Sullivan, an early starter, made a steady start to his round with three birdies in his first eight holes although his card was spoilt somewhat with a bogey at the 410-metre par-four third hole.

However, the 26-year-old Englishman made his move after the turn as he fired in four consecutive birdies from the 10th to the 13th holes before closing with two consecutive birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.

Sullivan, who opened the tournament with rounds of one-over 73 and one-under 71, said that an improved putting performance had been key to his strong third-round showing.

“I played really nicely, seeing as I didn’t hit many fairways. I got a lot of luck with my lies and got the putter hot today. I played good the last two days and didn’t really hole a lot, but just holed a lot more putts today to get it going.

“I just went out there with the mindset that I should hit the golf shots I’ve been hitting all week and hope the putts start rolling in. I had a bit of luck here and there, but you need that in a good round of golf.

"I’m really happy to be there and we’ll wait and see what happens,” he said after his round moved him to eight-under, five shots behind the overnight leaders Charl Schwartzel and Gregory Bourdy who had yet to tee off when Sullivan had completed his round.

Sullivan’s round also moved him into a tie for fourth place, temporarily at least, and he said he would adopt a similar approach in the final round.

“The good thing for me is that I’ve set my score now and I can wait and see what happens. I’ll go with the same approach tomorrow, try to keep hitting the shots I have been and see what happens.

Sullivan, who sank a monster 40-foot putt on the 17th to birdie the hole, only turned pro last year, and said that his round at Leopard Creek was one of the highlights of his fledgling professional career.

“Since I’ve been on the European Tour it’s probably the best round I’ve had. I shot 64 in Madeira, but today was really good. It was awesome, and considering that I didn’t drive it that great it was even more pleasing to shoot that score,” he explained.

Sullivan, ranked 611th in the world, did not enjoy the best of times at last week’s rain-affected Nelson Mandela Championship, ending in a tie for 91st, but he said that he hoped that the Alfred Dunhill Championship would be a turning point for him.

“I learnt a lot being on Tour last year. Not so much about my golf, but more about how to handle myself. It was disappointing last week, but this sort-of makes up for it and hopefully we can kick on for the rest of the season,” he said.


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