Thriston Lawrence produced another masterclass of patience and control to earn a three-stroke lead going into Sunday’s final round of the Joburg Open at Houghton Golf Club.
On a hot day at Houghton that kept even the hadedas quiet, Lawrence signed for a third round of 67 to climb to 15 under par overall as he seeks to claim a second Joburg Open title following his win in 2021.
His nearest challenger is Dean Burmester on 12 under after he signed for a 68, while Jacques Kruyswijk and Nikhil Rama are well placed on 11 under par after respective rounds of 69 and 72.
After all the intensity of a Saturday in professional golf, Lawrence spoke with the calm resolve of a man who saw his plan fall into place.
“I had a job to do and I executed nicely,” he said.
“I had a gameplan, and that was to try and play the exact same golf I did the first two days and I executed it. I stayed nice and patient. I could’ve probably gone lower than three under and there were a couple more putts I could’ve made, but it’s Saturday and the final group so it’s not always going to go your way. But it was still a job well done.”
It was indeed a well-executed gameplan on a day which began with Lawrence one shot behind leader Rama.
The 22-year-old Rama, playing possibly the biggest third round of his professional career, did extremely well to recover from a double bogey at the opening hole and keep himself in contention.
Kruyswijk was equally resilient as he bogeyed two of his first three holes and then unleashed his frustration on a run of four birdies in six holes thereafter to fight his way back into the title chase.
And Lawrence looked the most comfortable of all, especially on his chip-in to save par on the eighth.
“I’m very happy with my game at the moment. I’ve learnt the last couple of years playing on these big stages that you need to stay patient. I’ve done a good job of forgetting about the bogeys and staying in the present. That was what I wanted to achieve today and I did that.”