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Monday November 19, 2012

Coetzee sets course record in SA Open

EKURHULENI (South Africa): South African George Coetzee hit a course-record 63 at the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate to end the third round of the SA Open in second place on Saturday.

At 13-under, 26-year-old Coetzee is tied in second place with Sweden’s Magnus A Carlsson, just three strokes behind leader Henrik Stenson, who had his worst round yet at 69 after 66 and 65 in the previous two rounds.

His round puts him only one stroke behind the lowest score in SA Open history, after John Bland who shot a 62 at the Durban Country Club in 1993.

“It’s great to shoot a 63 and I’m very happy, but I have to forget about it as soon as possible,” said the Pretoria native.

“I’ve got to go out tomorrow. If the wind pumps and they put the flags in ridiculous places then 63 is definitely not an option.”

The players teed off later since the second round had to be completed after thunderstorms interrupted play on Friday.

Trailing Sweden’s Stenson by nine strokes after round two, Coetzee started the third with two birdies and then an eagle on the par-four fourth hole. After bogeying the 12th and 15th holes, he ended strongly with birdies on the 17th and 18th.

“I felt I handled my bogeys a lot better than in the past. Before I would put pressure on myself to make birdie the next hole, but I just waited for my opportunities,” he said.

Despite a disappointing show, former world number four Stenson’s experience however shone in a consistent lead – first with three strokes, then one, then four and finally three.

“Things were going well and then I bogeyed ten and missed a birdie chance on 11, so I really felt like I left two out there,” he said.

“Overall I’m happy. I’m still in the same position, even though I’ve got George (Coetzee) breathing down my neck.”

Masters 2011 champion Charl Schwarzel slid further behind, with double-bogeys on the fourth and sixth holes, and consecutive bogeys on the 17th and 18th that saw him finish with 74 strokes, well behind his 68 in the first two rounds. — AFP

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