James closes in at SA Mid-Amateur Champs
Former KwaZulu-Natal player Elton James turned up the pressure and moved within striking distance of pacesetter Gerlou Roux in the third round of the South African Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship on Thursday.
Overnight leader Roux remains on course for a wire-to-wire victory at Victoria Country Club near Pietermaritzburg after he carded a 70 to hold on to pole position at eight-under-par 205.
However, James from Westlake closed the gap to a single stroke after signing for a three under 68.
Roux carried a five stroke lead into the third round and was still in good shape after a birdie start and back-to-back bogeys at the second and third.
He reeled in six straight pars before a string of successive birdies from the 10th put him well in front, but the wheels came off with double bogeys at the par-three 13th and par-four 14th.
Roux, already a four-time winner this season, is very well known for his tenacity and fighting spirit and didn’t roll over after the four shot loss.
The 38-year-old Bellville golfer immediately rallied with a birdie at 15 to reduce the damage and negated another bogey at 17 with birdie number six at the closing hole.
James managed to limit his dropped shots to just four, and also squeezed a run of three birdies into his collection of seven gains.
It would appear that the final round race for glory will go down the wire between Roux, the country’s number one ranked mid-amateur, and his Province stable-mate.
Hugo Delport from Ekurhuleni signed for a one over 72 to take third on one over 214, while Central Gauteng’s Ryan Dreyer is a further stroke adrift after a third round 75.
ROUND THREE SCORES (top 10)
205 Gerlou Roux 66 67 72
206 Elton James 69 69 68
214 Hugo Delport 70 72 72
215 Ryan Dreyer 70 70 75
219 Sean Quigley 71 72 76
220 Norman Phillips 78 72 70
222 Kevin Sharp 75 71 76; Henk Geldenhuys 75 71 76
223 Brian Peterson 75 78 70; Pierre Spies 72 77 74
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.