Hill four adrift of Couvra ahead of final round in South Africa

Ronan MacNamara

Josh Hill (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Joshua Hill will enter the final round of the South African Stroke Play Championship four shots off the pace as Frenchman Martin Couvra put daylight between himself and the rest of the field on moving day.

Hill who held the halfway lead endured a difficult back nine culminating in a two-over 74 which saw him fall from top spot into a share of second on five-under-par.

The Galgorm Castle golfer recovered from an early bogey to card three birdies in five holes before dropping one on the 8th as he turned in 35.

Hill, a Mullingar Scratch Cup winner last year, looked set for a big finish after an eagle on the par-5 11th before a catastrophic run of double bogey, double bogey on par-4s 13 and 14 was followed by a bogey on the par-5 17th as he fell four adrift of Couvra.

“I started off really nicely, just kept the round from yesterday going then had one hole where I lost concentration and made a bad swing and let that carry on to the next five holes. It wasn’t ideal but still in around the top so I can still play tomorrow with the intention to shoot a low one.

“I was bad off both tees and had a chance to get it back in play and didn’t so I just didn’t hit the right shots at the right time.

“I know what I can do so just get a good night’s rest, forget about the last five holes and go again tomorrow.”

There wasn’t much to cheer about for Malone’s Matthew McClean who remained inside the top-10 but fell six shots off the pace after a three-over 75 dropped him back to three-under.

The US Mid-Amateur winner carded just two birdies in his third round while he dropped shots on 2, 6, 7, 10 and 16 to lie in a share of seventh place.

Robert Brazill of Naas is inside the top-20 on two-over after a 73 while Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley is a shot further back in 24th after a 76.

Robert Moran posted the best round of the Irish on day three with a level-par 72 to remain on four-over-par.

Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightly and Douglas’ Peter O’Keeffe are a shot further back.

Scoring HERE

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