Ruaidhri McGee boosted his prospects of rounding off the Challenge Tour’s South African swing in the top-10 with a steady move in round three of the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship.
McGee carded a two-under 70 to rise to six-under and a share of 33rd place. The Derry native trails Tom Vaillant by seven strokes heading into the final round.
The 32-year-old was steady out of the traps with eight pars and a birdie on 5 before he added another on the par-5 11th. A dropped shot on 13 was cancelled out by two birdies in three holes, although he will be disappointed to drop one on the last.
There was high drama at the summit of the leaderboard as young Frenchman Vaillant showed serious courage to card a gutsy one-over 73 to cling on to a one-shot lead on thirteen-under.
The 21-year-old, making his second Challenge Tour start, teed off three clear but two bogeys in his first six holes put him back towards the pack.
This was a round where he overcame adversity more than once. An eagle on 7 and a third successive birdie on the 9th hole saw him amazingly turn in one-under.
Disaster struck again with four bogeys in five holes, but the two-time Alps Tour winner as an amateur rallied again with birdies on 15 and 17 to edge in front again.
South Africa’s JJ Senekal is a shot adrift on -12 with Brandon Stone part of a five-way share of third on -11.
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