European Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington looks set for a decent payday after he took stock with a moving day one-over par round of 73 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the penultimate event on this year’s Race to Dubai.
The Dubliner, who availed of an enticing invite to Sun City, endured a rough finish having got to three-under par for the tournament through 14 holes on day three in South Africa.
A double-bogey at 15 was compounded by another dropped shot at the last as Harrington fell to even par through 54-holes, albeit in decent shape on the leaderboard in tied 32nd at the seventh Rolex Series event of the year.
Harrington is the sole Irish representative at the tournament but another Irishman, Shane Lowry, wouldn’t have enjoyed watching his Race to Dubai rival and current leader, Bernd Wiesberger steal a march on moving day in Sun City.
The Austrian moved to within five strokes of the lead with a two-under par 70 and at minus-six, he shares sixth place and remains in the mix with one round to go before next week’s tour finale in Dubai.
Meanwhile, home hero Zander Lombard leads the way at 11-under par going into the final round of the Gary Player hosted event.
But his closest rivals will be snapping at his heels, with compatriot Louis Oosthuizen just one shot back alongside Belgian Thomas Detry, who will be aiming to spoil the South African party in Sun City.
Reigning Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner Lombard entered the weekend at Gary Player Country Club with a two shot lead, but he was three-over par after eight holes as he did battle at the top of the leaderboard with playing partners Oosthuizen and Detry.
Birdies either side of the turn got him back on track as he battled to a level par round of 72, and despite dropping another on the 16, his maiden European Tour title is in his sights after 2010 Open Champion Oosthuizen bogeyed the 15th with Detry recording five birdies, a double and a bogey in an eventful back nine.
“Just couldn’t get it going today,” he reflected. “I mean, I was 3-over after the eighth, and I had a good fight back to get it back to level par. Then I flushed a 6-iron on the 16th and made a sloppy bogey. I thought it was going to be par, but got a bogey there. All in all, I’m still in the lead. Got to stay positive and really looking forward to tomorrow.
“I don’t want to sound cocky, but it (his current form) has been a long time coming. I’ve really made big strides in how I do things on and off the golf course. It’s nice to get some feedback and some results from the hard work.
“South Africans crowds love their sports and love their golf. It’s great to have them here and coming en mass tomorrow.”
Swede Marcus Kinhult and England’s Oliver Wilson are three shots off the lead at eight under par, two shots clear of a group of six players that includes defending champion Lee Westwood and current Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex leader Wiesberger.
Full scoring HERE