JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Defending champion Charl Schwartzel shared the Joburg Open lead with fellow South Africans Thomas Aiken and Garth Mulroy after the third round Saturday.
Schwartzel and Mulroy shot 2-under 69s, and Aiken had a 68 to finish the day at 15-under 198.
David Drysdale of Scotland was one shot behind after a 67 that included six birdies. Jamie Donaldson of Wales had a 65 and Oscar Floren of Sweden a 66 to sit at 11-under in a five-way tie for eighth.
Aiken criticized the pin placements at the 7,592-yard Royal Johannesburg and Kensington East Course, saying “they put every one in the worst position on every hole.”
Players often had to aim at the heart of the green rather than the pins, leaving them with long birdie chances.
“I hit 16 greens today,” Aiken said, “so 3-under was probably the worst score I could have made. But you can’t complain with 3-under, and I’m certainly in position to challenge.”
Schwartzel bogeyed the second, before recovering with three straight birdies from Nos. 7 to 9. He struggled after the turn and bogeyed the 15th, calling that pin position “just stupid,” before recovering with a two-putt birdie on the last.
Mulroy made five birdies but also three bogeys.