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Sport24.co.za | Ahlers opens up lead in Zambia



Cape Town – Jaco Ahlers carded a five-under-par 67 on
day three of the KCM Zambia Open to open up a two-shot lead over overnight
leader Jacques Blaauw.

“It was a bit of a shaky start – not
nervous or anything – I just didn’t hit it that well this morning. It got
better and better and I grinded and did what I have been doing the whole week.
It came together in the last few holes – I finished birdie-birdie – and it’s a
good place to be,” said Ahlers.

Since three consecutive missed cuts at the
beginning of the year, Ahlers has seen steady improvements in his game.

“I’ve been grinding and I’ve been working
really hard and it’s nice to see it’s paying off. I’m looking forward to
tomorrow and it’s going to be lekker playing from the front,” he said. 

Ahlers cut Blaauw’s three-shot overnight
advantage quickly, however a birdie-birdie finish from Blaauw limited the
damage. 

“Obviously to finish with a couple birdies
is always good. It’s a pity I wasn’t on the ball today but that’s how it goes.
I’m happy that I shot level-par and not over-par and we’ll have it all to do
tomorrow – I’m still in for a shout,” explained Blaauw.

Blaauw lead the putting statistics after
two rounds at Nchanga Golf Club with a total of 50 putts, however his third
round consisted of 33 putts and only five fairways hit. 

“I didn’t make any putts today. I had 33
putts and it wasn’t so good out there for me today. I only hit five fairways as
well and you can’t score out the rough here. Unfortunately I have to go out
onto the range now and work on the long game and hopefully I’ll be up there
tomorrow,” said Blaauw. 

The round of the day came from Ruan de
Smidt, after the 27-year-old carded an impressive eight-under-par 64, which
included an eagle on the par-four 18th.

“Yeah I got onto the tee and I was quite
upset because I missed a short birdie putt on the 17th. I was still
a bit upset on the 18th tee and I got up there and hit it hard
and it just came out really good. We heard the crowd from the box and it was
quite cool to hear that,” explained de Smidt. 

De Smidt’s round of 64 leaves him one
stroke off Blaauw on 13-under-par for the tournament and it’s an aggressive
game plan that has reaped its rewards. 

“I hit a lot of drivers and I hit them
pretty straight. If you hit it straight you’re not going to have a lot into the
holes and it really worked out for me,” said de Smidt.

Adilson Da Silva lurks six shots back of
the lead on 10-under-par for the tournament alongside Hennie du Plessis, and
the Brazilian feels he is still in for a shout come Sunday. 

“Tomorrow I think I’ve got a chance at
going for it. Today was the decider. You know if I didn’t have a good round
today and keep up with the guys it wouldn’t have happened tomorrow. We’ve got
another dip at it tomorrow and I feel I’m playing well” said Da Silva.  

Scores: 

200 – Jaco Ahlers
(RSA) 68 65 67

202 – Jacques Blaauw
(RSA) 65 65 72

203 – Ruan de Smidt
(RSA) 69 70 64

206 – Adilson Da Silva
(BRA) 71 70 65, Hennie du Plessis (RSA) 72 68 66



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