Faultless Saddier, Paisley hold SA Open second round lead

Ross Houston
January 14, 2018

South African Grace secured five birdies during the second nine to post a 66 and surge back into contention after being the first-round co-leader.

In all, the victor at Sun City last November recorded seven birdies and one bogey and before the turn looked to be slipping out of contention.

"I got frustrated out there", admitted Grace about his slow start. France's Saddier had the round of the day at Glendower Golf Club in Johannesburg, a blistering, course record-equaling 63 with an eagle, seven birdies and no bogeys. "I just stayed patient after that first hole setback", he said.

Paisley carded a blemish-free six-under final round
Paisley carded a blemish-free six-under final round

Grace had three eagles as he bids for a ninth European Tour title and to complete the set of wins at his native South Africa's three most prestigious events. I'm sure the crowd is going to be on his side. "I hit the ball superbly through 13 holes but couldn't get it in the hole".

Chris Paisley of England got down in two from off the green at the last hole on Saturday to cling to a one-shot lead over local Branden Grace after three rounds of the South African Open.

"I'm really proud with how I've played, I felt really calm and never really felt stressed", Paisley, the 31-year-old from Hexham, said after a round containing three birdies and a solitary bogey on the 16th. "It feels good. I don't want to get ahead of myself, just want to do my thing, but this is great for the confidence".

But it is Grace who will carry the momentum into the final day following his blistering finish, while compatriot Jacques Blaauw matched the highest-ranked player in the tournament on six-under for the day to take a share of third with Saddier and Chase Koepka.

Five-time European Tour victor Darren Fichardt of South Africa is alone in sixth on 205 after a 64, the lowest score of the day, and bettered only by Saddier this week.

"I've been in this situation a couple of times and I can't say I've dealt with it too well".

Ernie Els, a five-time victor of the South African Open, made the cut after a 70 moved him to 3 under.

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