AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Sunday 7 October 2012
Last Update 7 October 2012 3:28 am
ST. ANDREWS, United Kingdom: Reigning British Open champion Ernie Els predicts compatriot Branden Grace, and leader by four shots in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, to one day join him in capturing golf’s oldest major.
Grace, 24 continued his domination of the Scottish event adding a third round 69 at Carnoustie yesterday to move to 20-under par in the $US 5million event.
He heads to the final round, and the chance of securing the $800,000 first prize four clear of Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, who carded a 68 to move to 16-under par.
US Ryder Cup player Dustin Johnson recorded a 67 on the Old Course at St. Andrews to move to six-under par and tied in 43rd place with Ryder Cup winner Martin Kaymer who added a 69 also at St. Andrews.
Another European Ryder Cup team member, Sweden’s Peter Hanson, carded a 69 for a five under par tally but missing the five under par cut-off mark was teammate Paul Lawrie (68) at three under par.
“Today, was just a joke,” said the Scot.
Also missing the cut was defending champion Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland who signed for a third round 72 for a two-under par tally.
Grace set the European Tour alight earlier this year in winning three events in 11 appearances and arrived in Scotland after having captured a Sunshine Tour last week in Fancourt.
His third round at Carnoustie was a mix of six birdies, one bogey and a 15th hole double bogey.
And Grace’s efforts this year have been so amazing Els had no hesitation in declaring he could win the Open Championship which Els won in 2002 and again this year at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
“His game is so good Branden could well enough win an Open Championship,” said Els.
The current World No. 49-ranked Grace is a graduate from the Ernie Els Foundation which the four-time Major winner established in 1999 to help assist talented South African golfers compete more around the world.
Els got his first real sight of Grace’s golfing prowess in capturing the 2007 South African Open at Port Elizabeth where Grace finished the leading amateur.
“Branden has always been a quality player, and he’s really come on now,” said Els.
Phadungsil leads but bad light has final say
In Seoul, Chinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand held a slim lead of 12-under-par part way through the third round of the CJ Invitational after play was suspended due to poor light yesterday.
Tournament host K.J Choi of Korea trailed closely behind Chinnarat after reaching the turn at 11-under-par to stay one shot back of the Thai, while Korea’s Kim Dae-hyun was in third place at 10-under-par through 10 holes.
With almost four hours of play lost due to heavy fog in the morning, 62 players will have to return today to complete their third round at 9:20 a.m. with the final round scheduled to start at 10:20 a.m.
Chinnarat got off to a par-birdie-birdie start at the Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club.
The 23-year-old parred the rest of the holes, but had a scare on the par-three eighth when his wayward drive found the greenside bunker.
He recovered, however, before saving par with a 10-feet putt at the $750,000 event which is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Korean Golf Tour.
“K.J. is a very good player and he knows how to win tournaments. So it’s not over yet. But today, the most important thing was that I was very relaxed. I was not nervous and I just played my own game,” said Chinnarat.
Chinnarat, who became the youngest winner on Tour when he won his first title at home at the age of 17 years, is hopeful that his solid run will continue as he looks to rediscover the form that led him to three Asian Tour titles.
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