Aiken shoots 61 for 1-stroke lead in South Africa

Aiken shoots 61 for 1-stroke lead in South Africa

MALELANE, South Africa (AP) — South Africa’s Thomas Aiken eagled the last hole for a course record 11-under 61 to lead American Len Mattiace by one stroke Saturday after the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Aiken, trying to reclaim his European Tour card for next year, also had nine birdies at Leopard Creek to surpass Trevor Immelman’s record 63 in the 2003 Tour Championship.

“It’s a funny game this,” Aiken said. “You just plod along and all of a sudden things start to happen and the next thing you know you’re 11 under par for your round.”

He was at 18-under 198, one ahead of Mattiace, who had a second straight 68. Mattiace, a two-time PGA winner who is chasing his first victory on the European Tour, bogeyed the 17th but eagled the last hole.

Sweden’s Oskar Henningsson (69), England’s David Lynn (66) and Robert Rock (69) and South Africa’s Richard Sterne (68) were four shots behind the leader.

Aiken birdied eight of the first 13 holes, made a 35-foot birdie putt on the par-four 17th, and chipped in for eagle on the par-five 18th.

“I was pretty lucky to have this happen on moving day,” Aiken said. “I’ve shot 60 in a practice round before and had 61 in a tournament in Swaziland a few years back. But on a golf course as challenging and demanding as this, this is definitely the best round of my career.”

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