Johannesburg - Home favourite Charl Schwartzel will take a one-stroke lead into Sunday's final round of the South African Open after carding a third-round 69 for a 15-under-par total of 201 that sets him up for a title that has previously eluded him.
The 29-year-old Schwartzel, who is the highest-ranked South African golfer but has never won his country's open championship, leads from Italian Marco Crespi and Dane Morten Orum Madsen after five birdies in his round on Saturday.
Crespi, who came through the qualifying school this month, had shared the overnight lead on Friday with Schwartzel but slipped one stroke back as he battled with his putting. Madsen hit a 69 for a 14-under total of 202.
Former champion Hennie Otto, who won in 2011, hit the best round on Saturday despite taking seven shots at the ninth hole of the Glendower Country Club course on the outskirts of Johannesburg.
Otto moved into fourth place after birdying seven of the last eight holes for 65.
Twice US Open winner Retief Goosen was six shots off the lead.
The tournament is the first of the 2014 European Tour and one of eight being played in South Africa over the next four months.
Leading scores after the third round of the South African Open on Saturday (GBR & IRL unless stated, par 72):
201 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 67-65-69
202 - Marco Crespi (ITA) 65-67-70, Morten Orum Madsen (DEN) 67-66-69
203 - Hennie Otto (RSA) 72-66-65
205 - Christiaan Basson (RSA) 66-68-71, Andrea Pavan (ITA) 67-70-68, Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 69-67-69
206 - Magnus A Carlsson (SWE) 72-68-66, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 65-70-71, James Kamte (RSA) 69-67-70
207 - Ulrich Van Den Berg (RSA) 70-66-71, Andy Sullivan 71-68-68, Retief Goosen (RSA) 66-71-70, Garth Mulroy (RSA) 70-67-70, Warren Abery (RSA) 68-71-68, Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 71-70-66, Johan Carlsson (SWE) 69-70-68
208 - Sihwan Kim (PRK) 72-70-66, Thomas Aiken (RSA) 70-67-71, Ross Fisher 71-69-68, Matthew Nixon 64-72-72, Jean Hugo (RSA) 71-67-70, Martin Du toit (RSA) 70-70-68, Jorge Campillo (ESP) 72-70-66, Tom Lewis 68-68-72, Peter Karmis (RSA) 69-72-67
209 - Merrick Bremner (RSA) 73-69-67, Oliver Bekker (RSA) 70-69-70, Peter Whiteford 71-68-70, Adam Gee 73-69-67, Alastair Forsyth 72-66-71, James Morrison 69-66-74, Thomas Levet (FRA) 69-70-70
210 Keenan Davidse (RSA) 70-72-68, Jared
Harvey (RSA) 71-69-70, Daan Huizing (NED) 68-69-73, Simon Dyson
68-74-68, Seve Benson 72-70-68, Michael Hollick (RSA) 75-67-68, Anthony
Wall 70-70-70, Peter- Henric McIntyre (RSA) 73-68-69, Trevor Fisher Jnr
(RSA) 70-67-73, Alexander Levy (FRA) 69-72-69