Christiaan Bezuidenhout opened up a five-shot lead over Jon Rahm after round three of the Andalucia Masters on a day when defending champion Sergio Garcia slipped out of contention.
Tournament host Garcia was one of four players four strokes back of runaway leader Bezuidenhout ahead of Saturday’s play, but the local favourite carded a two-over-par 73 and drifted eight shots back.
There could still yet be a Spanish winner after world number 11 Rahm signed for his best European Tour round at Valderrama – a four-under 67 – to sit level with Japan’s Hideto Tanihara.
But Bezuidenhout – aiming to become the first man to shoot four rounds in the 60s at Valderrama in over 30 years – remains the man to beat after he moved to 10 under for the tournament by recording a 69 on Saturday, his round including three birdies and one bogey.
He began with a 66 on Thursday, following up with 68 on Friday, and another sub-70 score would almost certainly secure the title.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) June 29, 2019
“Going into Sunday with a five-shot lead is definitely nice,” Bezuidenhout told the European Tour’s official website. “I’ll just keep playing my game and see how I finish up.
“Rahm is a great player, he’s top 15 in the world and he’s a legend in Spain so it will be quite an experience. I haven’t played with him yet so I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“It wasn’t my best ball striking. I made some great saves on the turn through seven to nine, I got all three up-and-down there which kept the momentum going.
“I birdied 10 which settled it for me a little bit and I made another great save on 11. The score that I shot I’m really pleased with.”