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Thu Apr 24 23:44:23 SAST 2014

Harding leads in Zambia

Sapa | 17 June, 2012 10:550 Comments
2012 Vodacom Origins of Golf: Day 1
Justin Harding during day 1 of the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula Country Club on June 06, 2012 in Limpopo
Image by: Cale Jansen / Gallo Images

Justin Harding put on a great performance on Saturday with a third-round 69 at Lusaka Golf Club, overcoming tough conditions with classy golf to lead the Zambia Open.

“I played very well,” he said. “I found a little bit of form yesterday and continued from there. I drove it very good and put it in play.  

“It felt like I could have scored a lot better, but at the same time I’m very happy with four-under-par — it’s a tricky golf course and you can make a few bogeys out there.”  

Harding’s game is strong at the moment — he has shot in the red throughout this week and, a fortnight ago, came second at the Lombard Insurance Classic.

“It’s good to be up there. I had a chance at Lombard, and I’m coming into a bit of form, feeling good about my game. As long as a few putts drop, it could be a good week,” he said.

The conditions were tough — the lead at the beginning of the day was eight-under, but by the time the full field had turned it had dipped to five-under.

Harding took on the course, which was a bold move in tough winds. The greens were firm and fast, adding to the trouble, yet the Stellenbosch Golf Club professional pulled through.

“It such a challenging golf course — it’s tight, it’s narrow and the course is firm, so you really have to work your way around it,” Harding said.

“There are some holes where you have to be smart, but at the same time, if you make some putts you can put a score together.” 

Harding turned at one-under and got going quickly on the back nine when he made birdie at the 10th. He birdied the 14th, 15th and 18th and finished at four-under for the day, which took him to the lead at seven-under-par.

Divan van den Heever carded an impressive 68 to shift his tally to six-under-par. The 29-year-old has a solid history with the tournament, and finished in a share of 17th last year after a final-round 75 marred his chance at victory.

On Saturday he penciled in six birdies, four of which came over the stretch.

A lone bogey at the sixth did little to detract from a solid round and he finished in sole second. With 20 top-10 finishes to his name, van den Heever will surely contest for the win come Sunday.

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