Johannesburg - Sensational bunker play helped South Africa’s Haydn Porteous into a share of the lead in the third round of the R16.5-million Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington on Saturday.
For the second day, running the 21-year-old Modderfontein golfer eagled the par-5 opening hole on the East Course.
On Friday Porteous hit his approach stone dead, but on Saturday, he bunkered his second shot and faced with a downhill lie in the sand.
With very little green to work with and a putting surface that sloped away from him, it was always going to be a problem to stop the ball quickly.
The only solution to get the ball close to the cup was to hit a high ‘floater’ and hole it, and that’s precisely what he did.
“It was a tough bunker shot and there wasn't much room in which to spin it," Porteous said. "The ball actually hit the pin pretty hard before it went in, but, hey, in is in."
If the bunker shot at number one was particularly challenging, so was the one at the par-5 eighth hole. It is said that the long bunker shot around the green is the hardest shot in golf.
Porteous, facing a downhill lie in the bunker which always makes play from the sand more difficult, had about 25 metres to the pin.
He also had to go over the corner of a second bunker as the flag was tucked in close to the right hand side of the green.
It required superb judgement to get the ball anywhere close to the hole, but Porteous hit an absolute beauty to about three feet and rolled the putt in for a birdie four.
At the par-4 10th, he impressively “up-and-downed” from a greenside bunker with little green to work with, this time to save par.
“I was hitting it all over the place and I think I only hit two fairways with my drives today,” said the 21-year-old Porteous.
“But I made some good saves and, yes, those bunker shots certainly helped.”
And his four-under-par 68 was good enough for a share of the lead on 15-under-par with 20-year-old South African Zander Lombard and England’s veteran campaigner Anthony Wall, who posted respective rounds of 65 and 68.