SUN CITY, South Africa – Marc Leishman birdied the last two holes to capitalize on Henrik Stenson’s slip-ups and move into the lead on the third day of the Nedbank Challenge.
The Australian began on 8-under par, trailing Stenson by three shots, but a strong back nine saw him close Saturday on a 6-under 66 that left him 14 under and a stroke ahead of the Swede.
Stenson’s birdies at the 14th and 15th put some daylight between himself and the chasing pack, but a three-putt on No. 16 brought a bogey and he went on to drive his tee shot at the 18th into the bunker.
The 2008 champion lost his cool at that point, throwing his bag down, and another bogey saw him sign for a 70.
The 32-year-old Leishman is chasing his first European Tour win after coming close at this year’s British Open, when he lost a playoff to Zach Johnson.
“I saw Henrik was getting away a little bit so I had to try to do something to make it interesting for tomorrow,” Leishman said. “I’ve been in this position a few times in big events so it’s great to draw on that experience.”
Jaco van Zyl drained a long putt at the last to finish with a birdie and end the day on 10 under, while American Robert Streb matched the South African’s 72 to sit a shot behind in fourth place.
Van Zyl’s compatriots, Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen, both enjoyed good days to ensure a strong South African presence in the top 10.
Grace’s 67 left him tied for fifth with Austrian Bernd Wiesberger on 7 under, while Oosthuizen was a further shot back in seventh after his 68.