IRENE, Tshwane – Although Louis Albertse’s five-under-par 67 was not faultless golf, the 26-year-old showed perfect composure as he maintained his four-shot lead after the third and penultimate round of the Kit Kat Cash and Carry Pro-Am at Irene Country Club on Saturday.
Albertse will go into Sunday’s final round with a brilliant score of 19-under-par, following rounds of 66-64-67, a very handy lead with half-a-dozen golfers within six shots of him.
Albertse took a while to get going on Saturday and a bogey on the par-four fifth hole left him one-over for the round. But birdies on the sixth and eighth holes brought some momentum, and he then produced a brilliant back nine of four-under 32.
The Dundee Golf Club representative made some mistakes coming in, but showed a tremendous ability to recover quickly from his mistakes. Twice he made birdies after poor shots left him out of position, courtesy of a wonderful wedge on the par-five 10thand a phenomenal 45ft putt across the green on the par-three 16th.
“I had a bit of nerves at the start, I’m not going to lie, and I didn’t hit good drives on the first two holes,” Albertse said. “I was glad I got through those with birdies on six and eight, and then birdies on 10 and 11 made me feel even better. That settled me and I had a good round going.
“I just tried to stay composed. Acceptance in this game plays a really big part in success and the quicker you can accept mistakes, the easier it is. I just tried to forget about the previous shot.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of nerves in the final round and things might feel different. But that’s why we practise all these years, to be in this position. I’m just going to try and enjoy it as much as I can, and at 19-under-par there’s no reason to change anything in my game,” Albertse said.
Although the man who enjoyed seven top-10 finishes last season will be the favourite to win the R320 000 first prize on Sunday, it is by no means a done deal with several other golfers playing marvellous golf on Saturday to put themselves in the picture.
Malcolm Mitchell produced a magnificent back nine of 31 as his 66 lifted him into second place on 15-under. The lanky KwaZulu-Natalian chipped in for eagle on the 10th hole and finished his round with three consecutive birdies.
Kyle Barker also chipped in from off the green for an eagle on the par-four 15th and then finished birdie-birdie to post a 68 that left him in third place on 14-under.
A resurgent Trevor Fisher Jnr is on 13-under after cruising to a 66, alongside youngsters Jovan Rebula (68) and Adam Breen (64).