Justin Harding took a three shot lead after shooting a brilliant five under par 66 on a drama—filled day that saw local hero David Wakhu fall off the pace after carding an untidy three over par 74 in the penultimate round off the Kenya Savannah Classic at Karen Country Club.
It was an action packed day that saw the leadership change hands more than five times with round two leader Daniel Van Tonder, Justin Harding, Drysdale, Fichardt and the day’s pacesetter Reitan Kristoffer all enjoying the lead on different occasions.
Starting the day one shot behind the leader, Harding had an unconvincing start dropping a shot on the opening hole and then carded another bogey on the 4th hole after he had recovered brilliantly with two back to back birdies on the 2nd and 3rd holes to fall two shots behind the leader. A bogey on the 14th saw him drop to second before he switched on the turbo to birdie three of the last holes as his pursuers struggled, a fete that took him to -17 gross.
Enjoying a shot lead, Van Tonder started off brilliantly calmly keeping his threesome at bay before dropping a shot on the fifth to open the door for the chasing pack. Another bogey on the tough-playing 13th saw him drop to second a position he held on to tightly till the close of the round.
Kristoffer got off to a blistering start sinking eight birdies in the opening 11 holes to seize the leadership from Van Tonder. Calamity struck thereafter as the 23 year old Norwegian pro carded two bogeys and a double bogey to lose sight of the leaders.
After picking three birdies in the opening 12 holes, round two runner up David Drysdale was enjoying a share of the lead at -15 gross until the 15th hole where he dropped two shots in succession before picking another birdie at the 18th to remain three shots behind as he strives to break the South African domination.
Another South African Darren Fichardt stayed in contention, albeit three shots back, after a three under par 68 round left him within touching distance of the leader. An exquisite birdie chip on the 16th hole saw Fichardt briefly share leadership with compatriot Harding before dropping two shots on the back nine for -14 gross.
It was a bad day in office for David Wakhu who dropped 47 places on the leaderboard largely let down by poor approach coupled with lack of a killer instinct on the green. After a bright start on the front nine where a bogey at the eighth was sandwiched by two birdies on the sixth and ninth, Wakhu failed to navigate the back nine safely. After a routine birdie on the short par 5 12th hole, wheels came off on the notorious 13th hole where he dropped a shot after finding the left side bunker on approach. Things went from bad to worse for the Golf Park player, the only Kenyan to make the cut, when he dropped two shots in a horror display on the 15th and 16th before going for a much deserved break after a messy double bogey on the 18th hole.
Curtains will come down tomorrow as Harding chases an unprecedented back to back titles on the European Tour, well positioned to break the -21 winners’ record score he set at Karen last week. The action will be broadcasted live on DStv from 12.30pm on Channel 233.
DAY 3 LEADERBOARD
Van Tonder -14
De Jager -13