Zander Lombard hangs on to take lead into Nedbank final round

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Zander Lombard hangs on to take lead into Nedbank final round

Euro Tour

Zander Lombard hangs on to take lead into Nedbank final round

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Zander Lombard fought back to take the lead into the final round of the $7.5 million Nedbank Golf Challenge as he seeks his first European Tour win. However, he’s got a major champion and a player just as desperate for his maiden win chasing him for the title.

The 24-year-old returned a level par 72 to stay at 11 under. He’s one shot in front of 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and former Illinois player Thomas Detry of Belgium. England’s Oliver Wilson and Swede Marcus Kinhult share fourth spot on 8 under.

Lombard took a two-shot lead into the third round and looked like he’d end the day trailing when he bogeyed the sixth after five straight pars. Worse followed two holes later when he double bogeyed the eighth.

“Just couldn’t get it going today,” Lombard said. “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.

Leaderboard: Nedbank Golf Challenge

“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.”

He’ll have to work hard in the final round to hold off Oosthuizen. The South African has won five of his nine European Tour titles on home soil but has never won the Nedbank. He has three top 10s in his previous four appearances at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.

“I need to give myself more chances on the greens, decent chances for birdies, not from 30, 40 feet away all the time,” said Oosthuizen, who returned a 71. “But probably a little bit more aiming towards the pins tomorrow and just try and put a little pressure on Zander.

“This is the tournament growing up as a kid you watched and wanting to have your name on that plaque walking up the 9th hole there. It would mean a lot. But I need to play a little better tomorrow.”

Detry posted a 3-under 69 to remain in contention for his first European Tour win. It could have been better if not for a double bogey seven at the par-5 14th hole.

“Very, very happy,” Detry said. “I pretty much missed only one shot today. I hit a cart path and went into the trees and made double bogey, but other than that, played some really good golf.

“I think it’s going to be a fun battle tomorrow. It’s fantastic to play with these two guys. Louis is great and Zander, as well. The atmosphere is fantastic out there and I’m very much looking forward to tomorrow.”

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