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Charl Schwartzel opens up two-shot lead at Alfred Dunhill

Updated: Saturday, 30 Nov 2013 16:38 | Comments

Charl Schwartzel on the up after taking outright lead
Charl Schwartzel on the up after taking outright lead

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Sunday as he looks to make instant amends for the disappointment of seven days ago.

Schwartzel looked set to win the South African Open last week when he held a three-shot lead early in the final round, but dumped his tee shot on the sixth into water short of the green to run up a triple-bogey six.

The South African also took a double bogey on the 10th as his hopes of winning his home Open for the first time evaporated, although three birdies in the last eight holes at least saw him finish joint fourth at Glendower Golf Club.

Schwartzel could not have asked for a better location to seek redemption than Leopard Creek, having won here by 12 shots last year, and the 29-year-old is again the man to catch on 13-under-par after a flawless third round of 67.

The former Masters champion's score was matched by England's Richard Finch and France's Victor Riu to leave them two and three shots behind respectively.

Ireland’s Kevin Phelan, who won his European Tour card at the Tour School last month, is on four-under-par after a 68 and is tied for 15th place.

Gareth Maybin shot 71 to end on one-under-par while Damien McGrane is on two-over-par after a 74.

"If I can just keep going that way I will apply pressure to everyone and someone will have to play really well to catch me" - Charl Schwartzel

"I played a lot better today I think than the first two days, I felt more comfortable and hit more aggressive and positive shots," said Schwartzel, who had complained of some "very, very iffy" pin positions after his second round of 68.

"The one or two holes I didn't feel comfortable I just backed off a little bit and made par and carried on. Just try to keep the board ticking over was basically the plan for today.

"I gave myself a lot of chances but the greens in the afternoon when you are last off, there are a lot of spike marks around the holes and the ball is bouncing around a lot so it is hard to make a lot of putts, but if things went your way it could have been really low.

"I've got a two-shot lead and basically the same plan for tomorrow, if I can just keep going that way I will apply pressure to everyone and someone will have to play really well to catch me."

Schwartzel has now gone 44 holes without dropping a shot and added: "If I keep playing the way I am there is no reason to make any. If you keep thinking well around the course and executing the shots you should just keep making birdies.

"It's one of those courses where on all the right lines I feel comfortable, it's mostly right in front of you and it helps that I've had good success."

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