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Ken Borland

In the sort of heat that could lead to medical attention, Strydom & Jamieson keep their cool

Posted on December 10, 2022 by Ken

On the sort of day when those unaccustomed to Lowveld heat could have ended up needing medical attention, South Africa’s Ockie Strydom stormed up the leaderboard in the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship, his 63 giving him a share of the lead as Scotsman Scott Jamieson stubbornly refused to let first place go.

Strydom ended the second round tied for 21st place on six-under, seven strokes behind Jamieson, but he produced an amazing round, eight birdies and an eagle taking him to 10-under through 15 holes.

He bogeyed the par-three 16th though, three-putting from the far reaches of the green, and then parred his way home to equal the course record set the previous day by Jamieson.

With 15-under now the target, Jamieson got to that mark with three successive birdies from the 11th hole and then ensured he made no mistakes and did not drop any shots coming in.

“I played the same golf as the first two days,” Strydom said as he improved greatly on scores of 68 and 70. “I made a few putts though, I holed a chip, hit my wedges closer and did not take any risks.

“The eagle on two, when I chipped in, was my shot of the day because I was in an impossible spot, short and right of the green, with a steep bunker to clear.

“There were quite tough flags and subtle breaks in the greens, which I saw were running at 13.7 at the start of my round. If they make them any quicker they’re going to kill us, but I managed to hit the ball in the right places.

“I made the right decisions out there and you can’t attack this course, you have to let it come to you, otherwise you’ll be done,” Strydom said.

Jamieson was happy with his performance, as firmer greens made for a tougher day for the 39-year-old. And that’s not mentioning the 35° heat.

“It was a solid day, I’ll take two-under especially after my front nine. As expected it was tougher today, the green speeds were right up. I hit poor shots on four and five that killed my momentum, but to be one-over at the turn was not a disaster,” Jamieson said.

“I knew there would be chances on the back nine and I was able to take three of them in a row. I was really disciplined, there were only two shots I was really not happy about, on four and five. I stuck to my game-plan and eventually got reward. I was proud of myself,” Jamieson said.

Both Strydom and Jamieson believe they have the equipment, both mentally and in terms of ball-striking, to get the job done in Sunday’s final round and claim the biggest victories of their career.

“I will do the same I’ve been doing every day, just play the golf and if it works out then it does, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” the phlegmatic Strydom said.

“We are all the same out there, we are all people, no different to each other. They are just names and we will have to see how good they do it in the final round.

“I’ve been there contending quite a few times and I will just keep doing what I’m doing,” Strydom, who has one Sunshine Tour win and 19 runners-up finishes, said.

“The tournament begins on the back nine tomorrow,” Jamieson said. “So far we’ve all just been jockeying for position, but tomorrow the game-plan could change.

“Tomorrow will be all about who plays the best golf and there are some good names up there on the leaderboard. So it’s going to take a good round to win, if I can get to 20-under I will be happy and hopefully that will be good enough. But you can’t control what others do,” Jamieson added.

One of those prime ‘others’ is Dean Burmester (68), who is tied for third alongside fellow South African Oliver Bekker (68) and in-form Englishman Dale Whitnell (66) on 13-under, two behind.

“I’m happy where I’m at. Leading is harder than chasing and Scott Jamieson won once years ago [2013] and Ockie has won once too. We will just have to wait and see what they do in the final round,” Burmester, who won his second DP World Tour title last year in Tenerife and has eight other Sunshine Tour wins, said.

Having grown up in the humid, subtropical climate of Mutare in eastern Zimbabwe, and with the confidence he has gained playing in America, Burmester is unlikely to wilt in the heat.

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