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Lombard finds back nine form to lead Nedbank Golf Challenge

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By Reuters
Lombard finds back nine form to lead Nedbank Golf Challenge
FILE PHOTO - Golf - The 148th Open Championship - Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland - July 18, 2019 South Africa's Zander Lombard during the first round REUTERS/Ian Walton   -   Copyright  IAN WALTON(Reuters)

SUNCITY, South Africa (Reuters) – Overnight leader Zander Lombard recovered from a horror start to card a par score of 72 and hold a one-shot lead after the third round of the European Tour’s Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club on Saturday.

Lombard, ranked number 234 in the world and without a win on the European Tour, will head into Sunday with a tournament total of 11 under-par as slippery greens and challenging pin placements meant another day of high scores in the third round.

He saw his overnight lead cut by a shot on Saturday, but is aiming to become the second home player to win ‘Africa’s Major’ since 2008.

The 24-year-old was three over-par after eight holes, a sloppy start following his impressive 65 on Friday, but recovered to card four birdies in his final 10 holes.

He is one shot ahead of compatriot Louis Oosthuizen (71) and Belgian Thomas Detry (69), whose erratic back nine saw him joint leader with Lombard heading down the 18th fairway before a dropped shot.

Detry carded 35 on his front nine, but his run heading back to the clubhouse included five birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey in what was truly a mixed bag.

Englishman Oliver Wilson carded seven birdies and two bogeys for a 67 to go into Sunday on eight under-par for the tournament and in touch with the leaders. He is joined on that score by Swede Marcus Kinhult (70).

The Nedbank Golf Challenge is the penultimate tournament in the 2019 Race to Dubai, whose leader, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, carded 70 on Saturday for a tournament total of six under-par and a share of sixth position.

(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)