Michael Vlismas
2 minute read
5 Dec 2021
11:18 am

Harding takes charge after delayed third round at SA Open

Michael Vlismas

More rain is expected in the fourth round, but Harding is determined to keep his game and emotions in check in the trying conditions.

Justin Harding during the third round of the SA Open at Sun City. Picture: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

Justin Harding was quite literally calm amidst the storm as he signed off the third round of the South African Open with a four-stroke lead at Gary Player Country Club on Sunday.

The third round had to be completed on Sunday morning following a tremendous thunderstorm that hit Sun City on Saturday. Harding had five holes to play and birdied two of those in a composed finish that saw him top of the leaderboard on 13 under par following his 68.

ALSO READ: SA Open on hold as heavy storms hit Sun City

“I played well on Saturday and with a hotter putter I could’ve probably shot a really low score. I had good distance control with my irons and put the ball in play off the tee – it was just really solid,” Harding said.

“I did more of the same on Sunday morning. I started off hitting it stone dead on 14 for birdie, and a good drive on 15 led to another birdie there.”

His nearest challengers going into the final round were Hennie du Plessis, Daniel van Tonder and Oliver Bekker on nine under par. Du Plessis and Van Tonder signed for rounds of 70, and Bekker a 75.

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Amateur player Yurav Premlall did well to keep himself in the top 10 going into the final round. He finished off a round of 72 that put him on five under par overall.

More rain was expected on Sunday, but Harding was determined to keep his game and emotions in check in the trying conditions as he chased the prestigious title.

“Being calm is key out there. This is a hard golf course and you’ve got to have good control of your game,” he said.

“Managing emotions is key to that, and that’s what we’ll keep trying to do this afternoon.”