Adrian Meronk keeps victory bid on course in Alfred Dunhill Championship

Adrian Meronk’s bid to become the first Polish winner of a European Tour event remains on track after he fired a 71 to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The 27-year-old came into the day with a three-shot advantage but surrendered the lead altogether in the early stages of his third round following back-to-back bogeys at the third and fourth and a lightning-quick start from last week’s Joburg Open winner Joachim B. Hansen.

Meronk hung in there, producing some valuable par saves on the front nine before picking up his first birdie of the day at the 10th.

There was a five-shot swing on the 11th as Meronk made another birdie from around 20 feet and Hansen carded a quadruple-bogey eight after getting into tree trouble.

That restored Meronk’s three-shot lead and, although he narrowly missed the chance to make it three birdies in a row from eight feet on the 12th, he made amends with a birdie putt from a similar distance on the long 13th.

The Pole then parred his way home to finish the day on 14 under par and stay on course to complete a memorable wire-to-wire win at Leopard Creek.

Meronk relished battling it out at the top of the leaderboard and is looking forward to Sunday’s final round.

He said: “I actually enjoyed it very much, even at the beginning.

“It was a lot of fun playing with J.B.

“He got off to a good start so I was trying to catch him.

“It was a nice experience and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

South African Jayden Schaper was Meronk’s nearest challenger on 13 under after notching an eagle and three birdies in his sparkling 67.

The 19-year-old picked up four shots in his final four holes as he followed an eagle from six feet on the 15th with closing birdies at the 17th and 18th.

His countryman Christiaan Bezuidenhout was alone in third on 11 under, two shots ahead of Hansen and Scotland’s Calum Hill following his third-round 67.