Anthony Michael took a one-shot lead into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship, shooting a 1-under 71 that kept him ahead of the chasing pack Saturday. The event, co-sanctioned with southern Africa's Sunshine Tour, marks the official start of the 2011 European Tour schedule.
The South African baseball player turned golfer was at 10-under 206 through 54 holes, one shot ahead of Pablo Martin of Spain and Tjaart van der Walt of South Africa in the European Tour event.
2010 ALFRED DUNHILL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Alfred Dunhill Championship is the first event of the 2011 European Tour season.
Michael had three bogeys and two birdies in his first nine at the Leopard Creek Country Club, but then went bogey-free while adding two birdies to keep the lead he has held for two rounds.
Martin, the defending champion, made two eagles in a three-hole span en route to his 68.
The No. 39 ranked Charl Schwartzel, the highest ranked player left in the tournament, shot a 69 to move to 7 under and was tied for fourth with fellow South African Alex Haindl.
Only former Ryder Cup player Phillip Price (68) of Wales avoided making a bogey on a course packed with challenging pin placements.
Michael had a shaky start to the third round in pursuit of his first professional win in his first season on the Sunshine Tour. He bogeyed two of his first three holes, and dropped another shot at No. 7, following a birdie at No. 5. But he steadied and made three more birdies to reach 10 under.
“I am feeling the pressure,” Michael said. “Starting with two bogeys in the first three holes was not ideal, but I was able to get myself back.”
Martin had a birdie on his first two holes, and then eagles at Nos. 13 and 15, both par 5s. He fired a 3-wood over the lake at 15 that stopped 8 feet from the pin to set up his second eagle. He also had two bogeys.
“I played like a dog,” Martin said. “I wasn’t driving well at all, so I ended up taking a 3-wood off the tee. It was a good 68 because it could quite easily have gone the other way as well.”
Schwartzel, who won the Alfred Dunhill in 2004 and finished second here last year for the third time, also is in contention after picking up three shots Saturday to sit three off the lead. He had five birdies and two bogeys in his 69, while Haindl shot a 72 to drop from second into the tie for fourth.
Thomas Aiken had the day’s best score, a 67 that left him five shots back alone in sixth and gave South Africa five of the top six spots.