Golf: Frenchman takes lead in Turkey, Justin Walters tops SA pack

2013-11-10 06:00

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Cheers of “ah oui, bravo!” constantly rang out as a smattering of French fans applauded each excellent shot played by their compatriot Victor Dubuisson while compiling the round of his life in the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open golf championship.

The young man from Cannes, who has not yet won as a professional, carded a superb nine-under-par 63 to compile a total for three rounds of 21 under par and take a commanding five-stroke lead over England’s Ian Poulter into today’s final round.

Playing at the back of the field for the first time, Dubuisson, who turned professional in 2010 after a stellar amateur career but who has a highest finish of third since he’s been a pro, jumped out of the blocks with four straight birdies from the first and did not drop a shot while picking up five more birdies, playing in the company of Poulter and South African Justin Walters, and right behind Tiger Woods and Henrik Stenson.

The theme of the day could indeed have been “vive la France” as his countryman Raphaël Jacquelin fired an incredible 62 that included 12 birdies, five pars and one double drop at the short fifth, Julien Quesne played himself into joint tenth place and Gregory Bourdy returned a 66.

Jacquelin, who at Houghton in 2004, along with compatriot Gregory Havret, lost a three-way play-off for the Alfred Dunhill Championship to Germany’s Marcel Siem, ended up tied for third, six shots off Dubuisson’s blistering pace, with Woods, Stenson and Spain’s Alejandro Canizares.

South Africa’s Justin Walters was not intimidated by playing for the first time in his life in the last group in a top-flight tournament and gave himself many chances for birdie but just could not get his putter to cooperate – until late in the round when he birdied three of the last four holes to card a 70 and still be in with a shout, seven off Dubuisson’s pace and alone in sixth place on 14-under-par.

Thomas Aiken and Garth Mulroy kept their noses to the grindstone by firing 66s in a tournament in which the winner will take home a cheque of R11.7 million and tenth place is worth R1.4 million.

Leading South African scores are (the leader is on 195):

202 – Justin Walters 66 66 70

204 – Thomas Aiken 71 67 66

205 – Garth Mulroy 70 69 66; Branden Grace 69 69 67; George Coetzee 66 71 68; Richard Sterne 69 65 71

206 – Charl Schwartzel 68 70 68

208 – Darren Fichardt 64 73 71

215 – Louis Oosthuizen 72 74 69

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