JOHANNESBURG – Defending champion Charl Schwartzel finished the third round of the Joburg Open on Saturday in a three-way share of the lead with fellow South Africans Thomas Aiken and Garth Mulroy.
Schwartzel and Mulroy shot 69, and Aiken 68, for an overall 15-under 198.
David Drysdale of Scotland was one shot behind in fourth after shooting 67 with six birdies, while Welshman Jamie Donaldson carded a 6-under 65 and Swede Oscar Floren a 5-under 66.
Aiken criticized the pin placings at the 7,592-yard Royal Johannesburg and Kensington East Course, saying “they put every one in the worst position on every hole.”
Players often had to aim at the heart of the green rather than the pins, leaving them with long birdie chances.
“I hit 16 greens today,” Aiken said, “so 3-under was probably the worst score I could have made. But you can't complain with 3 under, and I’m certainly in (a) position to challenge.”
Schwartzel bogeyed the second, before recovering with three straight birdies from Nos. 7 to 9. He struggled after the turn and bogeyed the 15th, calling that pin position “just stupid”, before recovering with a two-putt birdie on the last.
Mulroy made five birdies but also three bogeys.