PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — Frenchman Romain Langasque fired a superb course record eight-under-par 64, a putting lesson from 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke’s coach helped Boland amateur Armand Scholtz to a sizzling 66 and French ace Ugo Coussaud kept in touch with a 68, but none of it enough to catch South Africa’s Rupert Kaminski in the third round in the South African Stroke Play Championship at Port Elizabeth Golf Club on Thursday.
The joint overnight leader braved a robust Westerly wind and kept his cool under pressure to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
Kaminski erased four bogeys with an eagle, three successive birdies from the seventh and back-to-back birdies at the closing holes for a 69 and a one stroke lead on 12-under-par 204.
Coussaud mixed five gains with one bogey, while Langasque and Scholtz tied for third on 10 under after the Boland amateur notched eight birdies to offset two drops.
First round leader Ewen Ferguson from Scotland carded a 71 to finish alone in fifth on 207, one stroke ahead of Irishman Gavin Moynihan, who registered a two under 70.
Kaminski, who is heading for Mississippi State in August, fired a second round 67 for a share of the 36-hole lead with Western Province’s Luke Trocado.
The 18-year-old Parkview amateur bogeyed the second and fourth holes, but wiped out the deficit when he holed out for eagle at the par-four third. He turned in three-under after a string of birdies from the seventh.
“I messed it up bogeys at the 13th and 14th, though,” Kaminski said. “I three-putted the par-five and hit a really bad tee-shot at the par-four. I knew I needed to make a few birdies down the home stretch to keep myself in contention for the final round.
“I hit a solid eight-iron into the green at the par-three to five feet and holed the putt, and got on the 18th green in two and two-putted for birdie.
“The wind was definitely a factor out there, but my putter was on song and that really saved the day for me. Armand had a great round and Romain shot the lights out in that strong wind…it was blowing about 40km per hour at stages; that’s pretty impressive.
“It’s going to be tough on Friday, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
Langasque reeled in eight birdies and an eagle-two at the par-four ninth for his third career 64.
The Frenchman was thrilled to be in contention with one round to go.
“It was definitely one of my best days and the wind made it really interesting,” said 19-year-old from Bordeaux-Lac in the South West of France.
“I chipped in for birdie at the seventh and holed a wedge for the eagle. Otherwise I hit it close all day and I didn’t have any long putts. It’s nice - now I have a 64 in France, Spain and South Africa. Maybe I can pull another low round on Friday to win. It would be great to go back home as the champion.”
After missing out on his Sunshine Tour card at Q-School, Scholtz had a few sessions with Rob Watts at the SwingFit Academy at De Zalze and adopted a new mind set.
“My putting let me down at Q-School and I was really angry that I messed up my chances School,” the 22-year-old explained.
“I didn’t care about my amateur results as much as I worked on getting ready for the pro ranks last year, but now I’ve changed my focus. I guess some of it is down to anger, but now I just want to win.
“The sessions with Rob really helped to sort out my putting stroke. I was lifting the putter on the follow through, but I am keeping it low now and the putts are dropping.
“When the putter works, it feeds the confidence and that feeds through to your long game, too. Overall, my game is really solid right now and it was great to shoot a low score again. It’s been a long while since I played this well.”