Coetsee pushes lead to two at Joburg Open

Johannesburg, South Africa ( - Wallie Coetsee recovered from a slow start to card a 2-under 70 on Saturday and that helped him extend his lead to two strokes after three rounds of the Joburg Open.

Coetsee ended 54 holes at 14-under-par 201. He will go for his first European Tour win on Sunday.

Steve Webster fired a 7-under 65, the low round of the day, and he moved into a share of second place at minus-12. He was joined there by Jacques Blaauw (67), David Howell (68) and Tjaart van der Walt (71).

South African Open winner Andy Sullivan (68) and defending champion George Coetzee (69), the two highest ranked players in the field, are among nine players tied for sixth place at 11-under-par 204.

After the first two rounds were played on the par-71 East Course and the par-72 West Course at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, the East Course hosts the final two rounds.

Coetsee led by one entering the third round. Over the first eight holes, he mixed seven pars with a bogey at the fourth. He birdied the ninth to join Webster, Blaauw and Simon Dyson atop the leaderboard at minus-12.

Around the turn, Coetsee tripped to another bogey at the 10th to dip one behind. He quickly atoned for that mistake with a birdie at the par-4 11th.

Coetsee made birdie at the 12th and he followed with a 6-foot birdie putt at the 13th to make it three in a row and to move to minus-14.

The South African faltered to the third bogey of his round at the 16th. Coetsee closed with an 4-footer for birdie at the last to finish two clear of the field.

"The first tee shot there were no nerves, the 6-iron into the middle of the green there were no nerves, but once I grabbed that putter there was no feel," said Coetsee of the 16th. "You need to keep a positive mind, me and my caddie are enjoying it out there and hopefully we can tomorrow. There is a lot at stake, more than you can think of, but it's just a game at the end of the day. Last night, I only slept for about four hours, but tonight I think I'm going to have a lot of sleep."

Webster flew up the leaderboard as he birdied three of the first four holes. Birdies at the sixth and eighth moved the Englishman to 10-under. After seven straight pars, Webster closed with birdies at 16 and 18.

Blaauw got off to a fast start with four consecutive birdies from the first. He birdied the sixth to move into a share of the lead at minus-12. Blaauw parred the final three holes of the opening nine, then was even-par on the back nine.

Howell followed a birdie at the first with four straight pars. He birdied the sixth and ninth to make the turn at 11-under. After a birdie on No. 11, Howell faltered to a bogey at the 14th. He birdied the last to share second place.

"The season's got off to a slow start so I came down here for three weeks and so far so good," said Howell, who had missed the cut in three of his first four starts this season. "I've had a couple of bad swings each day, but apart from that it's been pretty good. You have to keep your foot down and keep making the birdies and obviously stay away from the mistakes."

Van der Walt also birdied No. 1, but he struggled to a double-bogey on the par-4 third. He moved back to even-par for his round with a birdie at the eighth. The South African traded a birdie for a bogey from the 13th. A birdie at the par-3 16th moved van der Walt within two of the lead and he ended there with pars at 17 and 18.

NOTES: Coetsee picked up his second Sunshine Tour win last year, 17 years after his first victory on that tour ... The 42-year-old has just one career top-10 finish in 35 European Tour starts.