Durban, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Tommy Fleetwood carded a 3-under 69 on Saturday to claim a 1-stroke lead at the Volvo Golf Champions.
Fleetwood, who earned his first career European Tour victory at last season's Johnnie Walker Championship, finished 54 holes at Durban Country Club at 10- under-par 206.
"It's a tough a course as it is, but obviously when you're not quite on your game it turns into a very, very difficult course," said Fleetwood. "I played four or five really good holes, but obviously the rest of it, I struggled. You miss your tee shots, you're always going to struggle for pars. I made one bogey, but the bogey was always coming at some point, so I was quite cool and calm at the end of it."
Victor Dubuisson also shot 69 and Joost Luiten carded a 2-under 70 to share second place at 9-under, while defending champion Louis Oosthuizen (71) owned sole possession of fourth at minus-8.
Branden Grace (68) is alone in fifth at 7-under 209, a shot ahead of Jamie Donaldson (68) and first-round leader Raphael Jacquelin (70).
Oosthuizen, Fleetwood and Luiten entered the third round sharing the lead at 7-under, and Luiten was the first of the pack to move ahead when he stuck his approach at the first to about four feet and converted his birdie effort.
Oosthuizen answered with a birdie at the third before the South African converted a 25-foot birdie putt at the fourth to grab the advantage.
Fleetwood was next to make a move with back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth to join Oosthuizen at 9-under.
Oosthuizen, however, could not hang on to his share of the lead as an errant drive at the sixth resulted in a bogey to fall a shot off the pace. He then failed to get up and down for par from a greenside bunker at the seventh to drop to 7-under, giving Fleetwood a 2-stroke cushion.
But Oosthuizen quickly recovered with consecutive gains at the eighth and ninth to rejoin Fleetwood atop the leaderboard.
Fleetwood reclaimed sole possession of first with a lengthy birdie putt from beyond 50 feet at the ninth.
Luiten, meanwhile, bounced back from a bogey at the fourth with gains at the eighth and 10th to meet Oosthuizen in second place at 9-under before Oosthuizen bogeyed the 11th to drop into third.
The two swapped places when Oosthuizen birdied the 12th to move to 9-under, while Luiten bogeyed the 11th to drop to minus-8.
Oosthuizen later birdied the 15th to move to 10-under, and he was quickly handed sole possession of the lead when Fleetwood 3-putted for bogey at the 14th.
Oosthuizen failed to hang on to the lead again, though, as he was forced to take a penalty stroke at the 16th after he could not find his second shot among a group of thick bushes en route to a triple-bogey 7, dropping him to 7- under.
Dubuisson made a late charge with birdies at the 13th, 14th and 18th to meet Fleetwood at 9-under and claim the clubhouse lead, but Fleetwood answered with a birdie at the last to finish at 10-under and take a 1-stroke advantage into the final round.
"I stayed patient and came in good at the end. If you can stay in with a shout with three or four holes to go, you never know what's going to happen. That's going to be key, just keep going and stay patient," Fleetwood said.
NOTES:Seven of the last 10 European Tour events in South Africa have been won by South Africans. Oosthuizen, Grace and Charl Schwartzel, who is tied for eighth at 5-under, are the only South Africans in the top 10 ... There has not been a hole-in-one in the four years of this event ... At 22 years old, Fleetwood is the second-youngest player in the field behind 20-year-old Matteo Manassero ... Jacquelin's bogey-free round in the first round was the only one of the tournament to this point.