Schwartzel leads by 2 in South Africa
Malelane, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Charl Schwartzel fired a 5-under 67 on Saturday and moved two strokes clear of the field after three rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Schwartzel, the defending champion, ended 54 holes at 13-under-par 203. He will go for his ninth European Tour title on Sunday.
"It's one of those courses where I'm comfortable with all of the right lines," Schwartzel stated. "A lot of golf courses you need to hit it on lines that you feel awkward with, but this course is mostly right in front of you. And I think it helps that I've had good success here, too."
Richard Finch carded a 67 of his own to move into second place at minus-11, while Victor Riu also posted a 67 to end in third at 10-under 206.
Romain Wattel shot 4-under 68 and is alone in fourth at minus-9, while Soren Hansen is one stroke further back after a third-round 71 at Leopard Creek Country Club.
Morten Orum Madsen, who shared the lead entering round three, struggled to a 7-over 79, which dropped him into a tie for 34th at 1-under-par 215.
Schwartzel, a two-time winner of this event, rolled in a 5-footer for birdie on the second to move to minus-9. Hansen join him there with back-to-back birdies at two and three.
The 2011 Masters champion reeled off five straight pars from the third, then stuffed his approach within a foot at the par-4 eighth. After he kicked that in for birdie, Schwartzel converted another 5-foot birdie try at the ninth to make the turn with a two-stroke lead.
Schwartzel birdied the 12th from just over 10 feet out and made it two in a row with another birdie on the 13th. He closed his round with five consecutive pars.
"If I had really putted well today, it could have been very low. The good thing is that I know it's there. It very easily could have been low, but it was still a solid round of golf and this is still a tough golf course," said Schwartzel, who missed several easy birdie putts in round three.
"I felt a lot more comfortable and consequently, I was hitting a lot more positive shots. I felt a little more in control than the last few days. Sometimes those things are unexplainable. It's just human nature and you go through those waves. I hope a good round like this picks me up and I go out tomorrow and have the same."
Finch opened with birdies on the first and sixth to go with seven pars on the front nine. The Englishman converted back-to-back birdie tries at 10 and 11 to get to 10-under par.
After six pars in a row, Finch birdied the par-5 18th to get within two of the lead.
NOTES: Along with last year, Schwartzel also won this title in 2005 ... Finch is in the field via a tournament invite. He lost his card after the 2013 season, but he could get his card right back with a win on Sunday ... Finch last won on the European Tour in 2008, when he won twice.
11/30 11:14:15 ET