HARARE, Zimbabwe – The third round of the FBC Zimbabwe Open at Royal Harare Golf Club will not be fondly recalled by Luca Filippi, but the good news for the 23-year-old is that he still leads going into Sunday’s final round despite his 74 on Saturday.
That lead is a tenuous one, however, with Wynand Dingle firing an excellent four-under-par 68 to climb within one shot of Filippi, who is on nine-under-par overall.
Things looked to be progressing smoothly for Filippi, who took a five-shot lead into the weekend, as he birdied three successive holes in the middle of the front nine. But a bogey at the par-four eighth started the trouble and a double-bogey six at the 10thhole was a bitter blow.
The Milnerton Golf Club representative did manage to collect a couple of birdies on the back nine, but a bogey, double-bogey finish put the seal on a tough afternoon at the office.
“It felt like a very long day and it was tough going out at 12.30pm in the swirling wind,” Filippi admitted. “So three-under through six holes was a great start.”
“But then the double on 10 set me back, and I unfortunately had two bad holes to end too. But I thought I hung in nicely on the back nine. It was a nice start in conditions that were not easy and I thought I was building a nice lead, but golf thought otherwise and instead I just have a one-shot lead,” Filippi said philosophically.
It is only a one-shot lead thanks to Dingle, who is also seeking his first Sunshine Tour win, finishing birdie-birdie.
And it is not only the 37-year-old that Filippi has to worry about, with the vastly-experienced Jaco Ahlers (71) and Louis de Jager (72) both on six-under, while the in-form Louis Albertse (72) and Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya (72) are both one further stroke back.
But Filippi has a good head on his young shoulders and it’s not only about winning his maiden Sunshine Tour title in the final round for him; whatever happens, he sees it as another learning experience in an exciting professional career that was only launched a couple of years ago.
“The FBC Zimbabwe Open is a massive event, one of the bigger tournaments on the Sunshine Tour, and I’ve never had a one-shot lead going into the final day of a four-round event before. But regardless of the outcome, I would have learnt a lot after tomorrow’s round and I look forward to see what the day has in store for me,” Filippi said.