Martin Kaymer rolled in a tricky 10-foot par putt on the last for a two-under 70 and a one-stroke lead on Saturday heading into the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Europe’s Ryder Cup star made three birdies and a bogey to move to five-under on an overcast and breezy day that ensured low scores were again out of reach at the Gary Player Country Club.
Louis Oosthuizen (69) was second at four-under, while fellow South African Charl Schwartzel (70) was two back from Kaymer.
Oosthuizen and Schwartzel were lined up for a final-day push for a first home win at Sun City since Trevor Immelman in 2007. Oosthuizen’s round is only the fourth sub-70 score in three days of tough golf in South Africa.
Two-time defending champion Lee Westwood made a late move for an unprecedented third straight Nedbank title by shooting a 70 to sit three off the lead. Bill Haas of the US stayed in contention with a 71 for a share of fourth place with Westwood at two-under.
With the narrow fairways and unforgiving rough already testing the 12-man field, muggy conditions made driving off the tee even more difficult.
The former top-ranked Kaymer holed the putt that retained the Ryder Cup at Medinah, but he has not won anything else this year. He is in pole position for something else to celebrate this year after a good par save on No. 12. Back-to-back birdies on holes 13 and 14 helped him to a three-round total of 211.
Kaymer’s position means a German double at Sun City is possible this week after Bernhard Langer won the seniors event earlier on Saturday.
Oosthuizen had five birdies and two dropped shots. Schwartzel made three birdies and one bogey.
Gary Player’s course snagged overnight leader Paul Lawrie, with the Scot bogeying four of his first eight holes to battle to a 75 and slip down to sixth at one-under. Francesco Molinari made a 78 to be equal eighth.
Westwood, the best player of the Sun City layout during the last two years, found some momentum with three birdies on his back nine, but he also made back-to-back bogeys at holes 12 and 13 to slow his progress and leave him with a three-shot deficit to make up for a third straight triumph to make Sun City history.
Peter Hanson’s 73 left him seventh on two-over. Justin Rose had a 69 — after a 79 on Friday — to move to a tie for eighth alongside Carl Pettersson (74) and Molinari at five-over.
An eagle on No. 9 made little difference for Nicholas Colsaerts, the Belgian shooting a 74 for 11th. South Africa’s Garth Mulroy is last on seven-over after a 75.