Published November 17, 2012
| Sports Network
Ekurhuleni, South Africa – Henrik Stenson carded a 3-under- par 69 on Saturday to retain the lead after three rounds of the SA Open Championship.
Stenson, who sits at 16-under 200, stormed to the top of the leaderboard on Friday before second-round play was suspended due to an electrical storm at the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate.
When the second round concluded Saturday morning Stenson held a 3-stroke lead. Seeking his first European Tour win in over three years, the Swede then carded six birdies against three bogeys to retain the lead.
George Coetzee fired a course-record 63 to move into a tie for second place with Magnus Carlsson (68) at 13-under.
The South African Coetzee recorded a dazzling 30 on his front nine, and recovered from bogeys on Nos. 12 and 15 with a birdie-birdie finish to wrap up his 9-under round. He is looking to secure his first European Tour win.
"George was on fire today, so I'll obviously need to watch out," said Stenson. "But the final round is about focusing on your own game and playing well, and what happens happens. I'm focused on playing well in the final round and winning this championship."
Darren Fichardt shot 68 to grab sole possession of fourth place at 10-under, while first-round leader Merrick Bremner (73) is one stroke back in fifth.
Ryder Cup standout Martin Kaymer highlights a group of five tied for sixth place at 8-under.
Defending champion Hennie Otto is 2-over through 54 holes.
Stenson is not only aiming for his seventh career European Tour win, but he is also playing for a spot in next week's World Tour Championship. The 36-year-old entered the SA Open ranked 59th in the Race to Dubai standings and only the top 60 make next week's field.
A trio of successive birdies before the turn highlighted Stenson's Saturday performance. He dropped a shot at No. 10 and recovered with a birdie on 15, but then stumbled to another bogey on the 16th.
His 17th began with a shot into the thick rough, but he landed his second within a few feet of the cup and rolled home a putt for his sixth birdie of the round.
"I felt I handled my bogeys a lot better than in the past," Stenson continued. "Before I would put pressure on myself to make birdie the next hole, but I just waited for my opportunities."
NOTES: South Africans have won the SA Open Championship 11 of the past 12 years ... This tournament dates back to 1893, albeit as an exhibition. Next to the British Open, this is the oldest national championship ... Last year, Otto beat Bernd Wiesberger by a single stroke ... The win was Otto's second on the European Tour.