Grillo soars in East London

European Tour

Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo grabbed a two-shot lead at the Africa Open on Saturday courtesy of a nine-under-par 62.

Following up from his 63 on Friday, the 21-year-old made nine birdies in a flawless third round to take his total to 20 under par at the East London Golf Club, two shots clear of nearest rival Oliver Fisher, who shot a 66.

Another Englishman, Richard Bland, follows in a tie for third with South African Thomas Aiken and American John Hahn on 16 under.

Bland shot a 64, Aiken a 66, and Hahn, who led by two strokes overnight, had to settle for a 71.

Ulrich van den Berg (65) and Fabrizio Zanotti (68) are tied for sixth on 14 under, but at six shots adrift, they have a lot of work to do in Sunday’s final round.

Leader Grillo has been in top form of late, as evidenced by a runner-up finish at the recent Dubai Desert Classic, and he was in total control for much of the day.

Only an eagle from Fisher at the driveable 16th after his tee shot bounced through a greenside bunker, followed by a birdie at the last, helped close a gap at the top that at one stage seemed as if it would be much larger.

“It was a good round of golf,” Grillo told europeantour.com.

“I played well, but it was the putting that helped the most. I made some good ones on the back nine that kept my round going. I didn’t hit it as close as I would have liked for nine under, but I made them from all over.

“I played good for the whole round and I am quite happy with my game, so hopefully I can repeat it tomorrow.

“When you start making a couple of pars in a row you get impatient, so the key around here is waiting for the birdies.

“It’s definitely more difficult than the past two days. The wind picked up and it was a little different direction to what we have seen, but I played good enough to not care about the wind today. Hopefully we will have similar conditions tomorrow.

“I thought I had it for a moment in Dubai. Stephen (Gallacher) played great on the last few holes, so he got the trophy and I got second place, but it felt like a win for me.”

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