JOHANNESBURG, GautengÂ (23 October) â€“ Louis Albertse notched his first Sunshine Tour title five weeks ago at Mount Edgecombe and is in prime position to add a second on Sunday after a top-class round of six-under-par 66 gave him a one-stroke lead after three days of the Blair Atholl Championship on Saturday.
Albertseâ€™s remarkable round on a blustery day on one of the longest courses on tour included a double-bogey on the par-three 17th, when he found the large greenside bunker, but that was the sandwich in a pair of birdies on 16 and 18.
An eagle on the par-five fifth gave the winner of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event at Mount Edgecombe some momentum and a pair of birdies took him to the turn on four-under for the day.
The 25-year-old from Dundee then birdied the next two holes as well, soaring up the leaderboard when the second-round frontrunners could not make much headway on a testing day.
â€œThis is a long course, the wind was tricky and I didnâ€™t always get it right, but tough conditions get me going and to shoot six-under was very pleasing,â€ Albertse said. â€œThere are more scoring opportunities on the front, but the back nine is harder, there are a few really long par fours and the wind got up. But I still played really nicely.
â€œItâ€™s hard to get close when youâ€™re hitting five or six irons in, so it helps when your putter gets hot and to have just 24 putts today was very nice.â€
Anton Haig had three successive bogeys from the 15thÂ hole to shoot a level-par 72 and stay two shots back on seven-under, Rupert Kaminski also remaining on his second-round score.
Jayden Schaper was putting together a great round, six-under-par through 10 holes to take the lead, but the highly-rated youngster then dropped five shots in the last four holes and came home in 42, finishing the third round on five-under for the tournament.
Albertse is being pursued though by two hugely experienced golfers in Ulrich van den Berg and Trevor Fisher Junior, who are both just one stroke behind after shooting 68s on Saturday.
Van den Bergh is an eight-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, although it is more than seven years since he last took the honours, at Euphoria Golf Club, also in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series.
Fisher Junior is in a good run of form with four consecutive top-20 finishes and is a nine-time winner on tour.
A dozen golfers are within four shots of the lead and the Blair Atholl Championship is set for a thrilling conclusion on Sunday.
But Albertse is already in the top-10 of the order of merit in a breakthrough season for the third-year pro, he is high on confidence and good in the wind.
â€œWinning changes your frame of mind a bit, you know you can do it, you did it once so you can do it again. It frees up your game a bit and you give yourself more chances,â€ Albertse said.