East London, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Trevor Fisher, Jr. was one shot off of tying the course record with a 9-under 63 in Saturday's third round and that helped him vault into the lead at the Africa Open.
The South African is seeking his first career victory on the European Tour. He finished 54 holes at 16-under-par 200, two shots better than Matt Ford, who held a share of the first-round lead and the outright second-round advantage.
Fisher's 63 missed tying the East London Golf Club record by one shot. The record was set by Louis Oosthuizen in 2012 and then matched by Adilson Da Silva in 2013.
"I feel good after that round," said Fisher. "I don't know what happened but everything went well. I sank some crucial putts out there and everything just worked out the way, it worked out well for me today. I shot 63 so I'll take it."
Ford is still in the hunt, however, as he fired his third straight round in the 60s with a 3-under 69 Saturday. The Englishman is alone in second at 14- under 202.
Jaco Van Zyl (68) is alone in third and four shots back at 12-under 204, while Morten Orum Madsen (64), Jorge Campillo (67), John Parry (69) and Eduardo de la Riva (72) are tied for fourth at minus-10.
Fisher, beginning the day four shots back of the leader Ford, got things going right away as he made a birdie on the par-5 first.
Two holes later, Fisher made eagle on the par-5 third for the second straight day, getting him quickly to minus-3 through three holes. Fisher has made an eagle in every round this week. He also eagled the par-4 fifth on Thursday.
After rattling off four straight pars from four, Fisher poured in another gain at No. 8. He made the turn with a pair of pars on nine and 10.
Birdies on 11 and 13 pulled Fisher even with Ford atop the leaderboard before Fisher took the lead back with birdies on 12 and 13.
Fisher kept going strong as he drained two more gains on 15 and 16. While Fisher made the birdie at 16, Ford bogeyed 14 to give Fisher the outright lead at 15-under.
Two holes later, Fisher ended with a flourish by pouring in a gain at the last to take a 2-shot advantage heading into the final day. Fisher has now gone 25 straight holes without a bogey.
Ford held at least a share of the lead throughout most of the day before he was caught by Fisher. Ford kept going strong with birdies on two and three. After rattling off a trio of pars from four, Ford got up to 14-under with a birdie on seven.
He then made a mess of the par-4 eighth and settled for double-bogey, dropping him back two shots. Ford responded two holes later and ripped off three birdies in a four-hole stretch from 10. The gain on 13 gave Ford a 2-shot advantage over Fisher at the time.
That did not last long, however, as a bogey on 14 paired with Fisher's gains on 15 and 16 dropped Ford back into second place.
Ford could not catch Fisher to end the day as the Englishman finished with four straight pars from No. 15.
"I hit a couple of poor shots, but stuck to my routines and that helped me bounce back. I felt the pressure of leading and the last group, but it was a good experience," said Ford. "I try to keep myself relaxed out there. You have to take the positives out and try to finish it off. All of the good work could be pointless if I don't play well tomorrow, because it's a four-round tournament."
NOTES: Oosthuizen went on to win his second straight Africa Open title the year he set the course record in 2012. Oosthuizen won in a playoff in both 2011 and 2012 ... Maximilian Kieffer also shot a 63 in the second round. He was Fisher's playing partner on Saturday ... Fisher has eight career wins on the Sunshine Tour ... All but 10 of the 75 players to make the cut finished their third rounds under par ... Kevin Phelan, who was the first-round co- leader with Ford, shot a 2-over 74 and he is now tied for 53rd at 3-under 213.