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23rd March 2024

Porteous shares lead into final round of Stella Artois Players Championship

DAINFERN, Johannesburg – Haydn Porteous drew on the “good thoughts and good feelings” of the golf he knows he’s capable of playing to claim a share of the Stella Artois Players Championship lead headed into Sunday’s final round at Dainfern Golf Estate.

Porteous signed for a third round of 63 to share the lead on 23 under par with Keenan Davidse (63) and Michael Hollick (64).

Their nearest challenger is former champion Jaco Ahlers on 21 under par following his 66 on Saturday.

It’s been seven years since Porteous won and he’s keenly aware of that as he chases a victory on Sunday.

“It’s no secret that I’ve really been struggling over the last few years and definitely not playing to the kind of standard that I know I’m capable of,” said Porteous.

“But that’s golf. I think a lot of it is about growing up and dealing with a few more thoughts than normal. At first I was reacting to those thoughts, but slowly but surely I’m beginning to understand them and recognise them as just thoughts, and just stick to what I’m trying to achieve.

“We battle with these negative thoughts and I felt like I was putting a lot of emphasis on those thoughts. Now I recognise them as bad thoughts, and I’m trying instead to focus on the good thoughts and good feelings and focus my energy on the good rather than the bad. It’s making a big change in my game. Over the last six months I’ve been playing better, and this week was a good opportunity for me to do something in light of where I am on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit delivered by The Courier Guy.”

As much as he’s been working on his mind, Porteous’ game inside the ropes has been equally solid this week.

“Looking at the previous scores for this tournament I knew we needed to take it low. The par fives are there for the taking and I’ve done that well. My iron play has also helped me a lot this week. It’s been a pretty nice week so far.”

While admitting it’s obviously been a while since he’s contended, Porteous said he’s feeling confident going into the final round.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in this position, but we live for these moments. It’s been difficult for me to enjoy the game while not being able to feel these feelings over the past few years. A lot of the time I found myself hanging around the cut mark, and that’s not where I want to play my golf.” – Michael Vlismas.