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Ken Borland


A day to test your patience at Leopard Creek

Posted on December 10, 2023 by Ken

MISERABLE: Louis Oosthuizen and his caddy trying to keep dry on the fourth day of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
(Photo by Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)

It was a day to test your patience at Leopard Creek on Sunday as thundershowers limited play to just over two hours of action, restricting the great title showdown between Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel to just seven holes which failed to break the deadlock between the two longtime friends.

Leaders Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, together with Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who began the final round five shots behind, teed off at 10am and were able to play four holes before the first storms moved over Malelane.

In that time, both Oosthuizen (2nd hole) and Schwartzel (3rd) managed to collect a birdie, while Bezuidenhout made his presence felt with birdies on the par-five second and par-four third holes to cut the gap to four strokes.

The lingering threat of lightning meant play was only able to resume at 4pm, and even then it only lasted 43 rather miserably wet minutes before thunder rumbled again and play was called off for the day.

Not much had changed in that time, although Oosthuizen must have had his heart in his mouth after he hit his tee-shot on the par-three seventh into the water. He showed his mettle, however, as he stroked in a 25ft putt to limit the damage to just a bogey.

Having just birdied the short par-four sixth after a lovely approach shot to six feet, it meant Oosthuizen dropped back to join Schwartzel on 16-under.

All three members of the final group began the final round smoothly, finding the fairways off the tee and hitting precision iron-shots. Bezuidenhout, however, had more success with the putter and he further cut the lead to three strokes as, straight after the lengthy weather delay, he rolled in a 20ft birdie putt on the par-three fifth hole.

Andy Sullivan was also cruising with two birdies in his first six holes, but he then bogeyed the par-four eighth to slip back to 11-under, five behind, alongside Germany’s Matti Schmid, who was three-under for his round.

Of the other South Africans besides the top three, Thriston Lawrence is accelerating up the leaderboard and is currently tied for eighth on eight-under, four-under for his round with three holes to play.

Jayden Schaper made a fast birdie-birdie start, but then went bogey-bogey and is level-par at the turn, also on eight-under overall.

Casey Jarvis sandwiched birdies at the first and third holes with a bogey at the par-five second, and then had a bit of a car crash on the ninth, with a double-bogey that dropped him to seven-under for the tournament, alongside Wynand Dingle.

The final round will only resume at 9am on Monday to allow the greenkeepers to ready the waterladen course.

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