Mon, 24 Feb 2020

Johannesburg - Jacques Kruyswijk is ready to take the battle-hardened lessons he learned during a tough year on the European Tour last year and make them count as he heads into Sunday's final round of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship tied for the lead.

Kruyswijk signed for a 64 at the Eye of Africa Signature Golf Estate on Saturday to top the leaderboard alongside Darren Fichardt on 16 under par. The experienced Fichardt posted a third round of 65.

They are both one stroke clear of Thriston Lawrence who signed for a 69 on Saturday. And further back, the leaderboard is still very tight with Daniel van Tonder on 14 under, and then two former champions in 2018 winner Matias Calderon and defending champion Louis de Jager both in a group on 12 under par. Jaco Ahlers is also at 12 under after a third-round 64.

But Kruyswijk believes he has the mental toughness to weather any challenge that comes his way, and it's based upon a tough 2019 on the European Tour where he lost his card but gained a world of experience.

"Playing on the European Tour has taught me a lot. You play in front of a lot of people and on tough courses - it's a lot of pressure and I feel like I've matured a lot. I went through a difficult time last year but mentally I feel it's made me stronger," he said.

"This 64 felt like my old self. I had a lot of fun and it's been a while since I've felt like that. It just went my way. I felt really comfortable out there. My three-wood was working so well that I was hitting it past my driver," he said of a round that started with two birdies and then finished with four birdies in his final six holes.

"It was nice to finish strong and I'm excited for the final round. My caddie and I came up with a strategy at the beginning of the week where we said we're going to take it three holes at a time and try and be under par for three holes. It's worked well."

And he's doing his best not to put any unnecessary pressure on himself for the final day of South Africa's second oldest professional golf tournament, and the chance to add his name to an illustrious list of past champions.

"You can only do your best and prepare the same way you always do. You never know what's coming in this game."

Fichardt will be aiming to do the same based on advice he was given by Mark McNulty early in his career.

"When I just turned pro, Mark McNulty gave me some good advice and he said just stick to your game plan. Don't deviate from that just because it's a final round. I'm just going to do that," he said of a round where he also finished strong with three birdies in his final four holes.

"I started off a bit shaky and drove it in the bush on the first hole, but managed to make par. But I got it going nicely and then had a good finish. I'm in a good position for the weekend. I'm excited. It will be a good fight with Jacques for the title, but I'm excited."

Scores from the third round of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship on the par-72 Eye of Africa Signature Golf Estate course on Saturday:

200 - Jacques Kruyswijk 67 69 64, Darren Fichardt 65 70 65

201 - Thriston Lawrence 66 66 69

202 - Daniel van Tonder 67 69 66

204 - Jaco Ahlers 71 69 64, Matias Calderon 70 67 67, Louis de Jager 69 67 68, Jake Redman 69 67 68, Bryce Easton 68 66 70

205 - Wilco Nienaber 71 66 68, Philip Eriksson 66 70 69, Jaco Van Zyl 70 66 69

206 - Andre Nel 71 70 65, JC Ritchie 70 68 68, MJ Viljoen 70 68 68, Ulrich van den Berg 69 69 68, Trevor Fisher Jnr 67 70 69

208 - Steve Surry 71 70 67, Toto Thimba 68 71 69, Peter Karmis 71 68 69, Martin Rohwer 68 70 70, Toby Tree 70 68 70, Kyle Barker 70 67 71, Gavin Moynihan 67 69 72

209 - Victor Lange 70 71 68, Oliver Bekker 69 70 70, Fredrik From 71 68 70, Hennie du Plessis 72 66 71

210 - Garrick Higgo 66 75 69, Christiaan Basson 74 67 69, Andre De Decker 69 71 70, Jean-Paul Strydom 70 70 70, Erhard Lambrechts 68 71 71, Callum Mowat 67 71 72, Hennie Otto 70 67 73, Tyrone Ferreira 67 69 74, Jacques Blaauw 69 67 74

211 - Jake Roos 70 71 70, David McIntyre 69 71 71, Jean Hugo 69 68 74, Chris Swanepoel 67 69 75

212 - James Hart du Preez 75 67 70, Deon Germishuys 75 67 70, James Allan 72 70 70, Neil Schietekat 73 68 71, Ruan Conradie 70 70 72

213 - Doug McGuigan 73 69 71, Derick Petersen 70 71 72, Ockie Strydom 70 70 73, Mark Williams 70 67 76, Ruan de Smidt 69 67 77, Estiaan Conradie 69 65 79

214 - Hayden Griffiths 71 71 72, Luke Jerling 71 70 73, Juran Dreyer 71 70 73, Hennie O'Kennedy 68 66 80

215 - Paul Boshoff 68 72 75, Andrew van der Knaap 71 69 75

216 - Bennie van der Merwe 73 69 74

217 - Dylan Naidoo 70 72 75, Titch Moore 69 71 77, Jade Buitendag 69 70 78

218 - Teboho Sefatsa 68 74 76, Teaghan Gauche 74 68 76, Divan van den Heever 72 67 79

219 - Vaughn Groenewald 70 72 77

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