Jaco Ahlers closed the fourth round of the Sunshine Tour’s Serengeti Pro-Am Invitational with successive birdies on Saturday to card a four-under-par 68 and move into a one-stroke lead ahead of the final round.
He’d made a bogey at the par-five 16th just minutes before to relinquish a share of the lead, but some good putting on the final two holes took him clear of Lyle Rowe, Riekus Nortje and Jaco Prinsloo who, in turn, were one ahead of overnight leader MJ Viljoen, who carded two-over 74 to slip into fifth position on his own.
“It was good to bounce back like that,” said Ahlers. “One tee shot off line, and that showed just what this course can do to you. I could only hack it out and then an off-line fourth shot into the green left me with too much to save par. But my putting was good, and those two closing birdies were thanks to my putter.”
As every player found out, scoring at Serengeti does not come on the par-fives, and the 16th was the toughest of the four in the fourth round of the tournament that stretches over five rounds – four on the main course, and yesterday’s third round on the par-three course. “You’re laying up on just about every par-five,” said Ahlers, “so you have to find birdies some other way. And, with the wind up today at nearly 30 kilometres an hour, it made things even more difficult.”
In fact, Ahlers’ 68 was just one shot off the best score of the day. Rowe was one of the players who carded a five-under 67, while Nortje and Prinsloo carded 70 and 71 respectively. The other 67s came from Louis Albertse, who goes into the final round at eight-under in sixth, Jared Harvey who is seven-under in eighth, and Oliver Bekker who is six-under in 11th.