Grace, Colsaerts share Volvo Champions lead
Saturday, January 21, 2012
GEORGE, South Africa — Branden Grace of South Africa fell into a tie for the lead at the Volvo Golf Champions with Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium after shooting a 2-over 75 Saturday in a wet and windy third round.
Grace had two double bogeys on his back nine, wasting the four-stroke lead he built after two rounds. Colsaerts shot a 69. Grace and Colsarets were at 10-under 209 heading into the final round.
South African pair Retief Goosen (70) and Charl Schwartzel (68) are a stroke back.
After two days of calm weather, the Links course showed a glimpse of its fearsome reputation as the wind and intermittent rain made for a difficult day.
It took its toll on Spain’s Pablo Martin. The three-time European Tour winner shot a 90 and was last at 20 over.
“Today the course played more like we know it,” Goosen said. “There were some holes where par was a very good score.”
The first six holes played the toughest they have all week. Grace came through that span at 2 over, while Colsaerts was happy to make it through in 1 under.
“I think I got a little lucky the first six holes,” Colsaerts said. “I could have easily been 2 or 3 over. I thought the first five or six holes were the toughest of the bunch today.”
Colsaerts relied heavily on his big drives, particularly on the par-five 18th where he was left with an 8-iron into the green on his way to making an eagle.
“I hit an enormous drive, I don’t even know how far it went. I think I had 186 yards to the front of the green. I think that if you find yourself in contention over the last couple of holes, you’ve got to go with your strength.”
Grace tried to remain positive about the double bogeys he made on the back nine. On the par-four 12th his drive kicked right and into a pot bunker, and on the par-three 17th he hit his tee shot over the green and very nearly into the hazard.
“The conditions were really tough out there and I always knew I would make mistakes. Unfortunately it happened on the tough holes. But I still think I handled it pretty good. It was a long day and I’m still pleased to be at the top.”
European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal shot a 72 and was 8-under 211 total going into Sunday’s final round.