Joburg Open day 3: Sterne and Fisher Jnr open up 5-shot lead

On the eve of the final day of the 2013 Joburg Open, very little has changed after the first round of golf post-cut since yesterday.

English: South Africa (orthographic projection)

European Tour visits South Africa for the 2013 Joburg Open

Richard Sterne & Trevor Fisher Jnr have pulled a couple more shots clear and remain T1 after 54 holes of golf at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington in South Africa.

The two South Africans will take a five-shot lead over four other golfers currently T3 into the final day’s play in a few hours time.

Five out of the top six placed golfers after day three still represent South Africa, as was the case at the halfway point in this year’s Joburg Open, yesterday.

The only difference is that Jaco Van Zyl has exchanged places with Keith Horne; Van Zyl carded -5 for the day to join the three other golfers five off the pace on -14, whereas Horne shot a forgettable +1.

English: Felipe Aguilar during his participati...

Felipe Aguilar, Wikipedia, CC3.0 Sharealike

Aguilar only non-South African with shot at Joburg Open title

Chile’s Felipe Aguilar is still the only non-South African to be cutting it up with the home-grown golfers.  He remains the only genuine threat to prising the Joburg Open title out of South African hands.

It would be a brave fella indeed to back against either Sterne or Fisher Jnr failing to cross the line as champion, given their 5-shot advantage.

But Charl Schwartzel, amongst those T3 five shots back, will want to do whatever he can to win the Joburg Open for the third time in four years.  Branden Grace robbed him of a straight hat-trick last year; he’ll want to put that right, tomorrow.

I say ‘tomorrow’.  The final day tees off in less than five hours from now, with the lower half of the draw in this Race to Dubai event teeing off on the back nine at 6:30 local time (GMT +2).

The top half tee off same time on the front nine.  Oddly, unlike day three, the pairings for the final day will actually play in trios.

Van Zyl (-14/T3) joins leaders Sterne and Fisher Jnr (-19/T1) to tee off at 8:20am, making the final pairing an all-South African affair.

The other three T3 golfers, Schwartzel, Coetzee and Aguilar, set out ten minutes earlier.  For my money, Charl will be in the clubhouse praying for Sterne or Fisher Jnr to drop a shot at the last.

Can’t see it though; what about you?

  • Can anyone mount a challenge from five shots – or further – back?  
  • Or is it Richard Sterne vs Trevor Fisher Jnr all the way?

Joburg Open – 4-under/T55 makes the cut for weekend golf action

The Joburg Open is at the halfway point and, as has been the case in the majority of years since its inception in 2007, is dominated by South African golfers.

Charl Schwartzel at KLM Open in 2010

Charl Schwartzel circa 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Indeed, five of the top six are from the home nation, with only Chilean golfer Felipe Aguilar keeping pace with the South Africans, sitting T4 with Charl Schwartzel and Keith Horne.

Charl Schwartzel was amongst many bookies’ favourites for this, the seventh, Joburg Open at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.  And probably for good reason.

The South African is vying for his hat-trick at the event, winning previously in 2010 and 2011.  His compatriot Branden Grace picked up the title last year, robbing Schwartzel of a prestigious straight three-in-a-row.

joburg open leaderboard halfway

joburg open leaderboard halfway (European Tour Leaderboard)

However, he’s got some work to do over the weekend if he’s to make that dream a reality.

Sitting between himself, Horne and Aguilar and the leaders is George Coetzee, two shots ahead in solo third place  on -12.

But the gap to leaders Trevor Fisher Jnr and Richard Sterne is a further three shots.

They sit pretty atop the Joburg Leaderboard on -15 at the halfway stage.

Tommy Fleetwood best chance of UK Golf victory in Joburg Open

Tommy Fleetwood is UK Golf’s best chance of picking up the title on this Sunshine Tour event, sitting T7 with three other golfers a further shot behind Schwartzel and Co. on -9.

Considering most of our 10-Tee-20-Vision‘s points in the Fantasy Race to Dubai have come from British, predominantly English, golfers this season, there’s little evidence much of the €1,300,000 purse will be heading back to Europe Sunday afternoon.

The impetus felt by the injection of the European Tour at the Joburg Open, one of four South African golf events it sponsors, has certainly helped raise interest in the competition.

Even then, many of Europe’s biggest golfing names aren’t making the trip to South Africa, rather travelling west across the Atlantic this week.

This year’s Joburg Open coincides with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, a huge draw every year, Stateside.

Pros and celebrities take on the stunning Californian golf course, as well as Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Golf Courses due to large number of entrants.

Old Lefty, Phil Mickleson, looks in decent form to defend his 2012 title there after winning his 41st PGA Tour event in Phoenix last week.

The tee-times for tomorrow morning’s golf here in Johannesburg have been announced and the pairings are on the European Tour website.

Robert Jan Derksen kicks off day three of the Joburg Open at 6:54am on the East Course.  The top ten overnight will pair off at 11:44am, 11:53am, 12:02pm, 12:10pm and finally the overnight leaders, Fisher Jnr and Sterne, at 12:20.  All local times, which are GMT+2.

10-Tee-20-Vision Fantasy Race to Dubai @ Joburg

It’s doubtful whether my old Fantasy Race to Dubai team is going to win the weekly prize for biggest total prize pot this week, given that six out of our ten haven’t made the cut.

I’ll not name names (you can see for yourself), but the four golfers we do have remaining for the weekend’s golf action means we shouldn’t embarrass ourselves too much.

10-tee-20-vision team - 130207 - joburg open

10-Tee-20-Vision team – 130207 – Joburg Open

Don’t ask me how, but you’ll see the very last selection on the team sheet this week was Richard Sterne, who sits T1, as mentioned. Then we’ve got Charl Schwartzel and Felipe Aguilar who share T4.  Not bad, huh?

Making up our cut survivors is Italy’s Lorenzo Gagli, who sits just outside the top ten. At seven shots off the pace, he’s T11 with eight other golfers on -8.

That might sound like a fair way off the pace, seven shots behind the leaders.  When you consider that Fisher Jnr and Sterne have amassed -15 after the first two days’ golf, a win for Gagli is by no means out of the question.

I’m certain there’ll be many more team managers wishing they’d as many golfers left in the Fantasy Race To Dubai as we have.

Conversely, I’m sure there are a good few more rubbing their hands at the prospect of a South African whitewash if they’ve used their noggins and picked a team of indigenous golfers…now why didn’t I think of that?

Have your say:

Can Schwartzel claw back the two shots needed over the weekend to win his third Joburg Open?

And have you entered a team in this year’s Fantasy Race to Dubai?  If so, how are you doing and are you in a mini-league?