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Fichardt, Van Zyl share lead at Africa Open

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The Sports Network
2/16/2013 4:30:26 PM
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East London, South Africa (Sports Network) - Darren Fichardt fired a 7-under 65 and Jaco Van Zyl carded a 4-under 68 on Saturday to share the top spot at the Africa Open.

South African natives Fichardt and Van Zyl both sit at 15-under-par 201 following three days at the East London Golf Club, while second-round leader Adilson Da Silva stumbled to a plus-1 73 to fall to third place at minus-13.

Gregory Bourdy (67) sits in fourth at minus-12, which is a shot ahead of Emiliano Grillo in fifth following an 8-under 64 on Saturday.

The low round of the day belonged to Jorge Campillo, who finished with a 9- under 63 to vault himself into a tie with Mark Tullo (68) and Tjaart van der Walt (68) for sixth at minus-10.

Fichardt wasted no time in making his run to the top of the leaderboard, following a birdie at the first by rolling in a 20-foot putt for eagle at the par-5 third.

Three more birdies over his next five holes dropped him to minus-14 before a bogey at the ninth halted his momentum.

He recovered with three straight birdies from the 13th to the 15th to capture a 1-stroke lead over Van Zyl, but a bogey at the 17th brought him back to 15- under.

"The wind certainly picked up," Fichardt said about the end of his round. "It didn't feel like it in the fairways, which are in little valleys, but it built up and made a difference."

Van Zyl also eased through his front nine by picking up three birdies and then added another at the 11th.

A bogey at the 14th briefly gave Fichardt a 2-stroke advantage, but Van Zyl countered that with a birdie at the 15th and parred the final three holes to head into the clubhouse tied for the lead after Fichardt's late bogey.

"I just wanted to make par and get out of there," said Van Zyl. "In the end you take what you can. It would have been nice being 25 under par, but I'll take 15 and see what tomorrow brings."

Da Silva carried a 3-shot lead into the weekend and the poured in an 8-foot putt for an eagle at the third to add to his advantage.

On the eighth, however, he needed two attempts to get out of a bunker before hitting into another and recording a 3-over-par seven to drop him to minus-13 and a shot behind both Fichardt and Van Zyl.

Da Silva stumbled again to a bogey on the ninth, but quickly got that shot back with a birdie at the 10th and closed with eight straight pars to remain in striking distance entering the tournament's final day.

NOTES: Da Silva, who is a regular on the co-sanctioning Sunshine Tour, and Van Zyl are each seeking their first career European Tour win ... Fichardt would capture his fourth career European title with a victory ... Van der Walt was the runner-up at this event in 2012 ... If either Fichardt or Van Zyl win on Sunday, it will be the fourth straight year a South African has captured this event.

Darren Fichardt (Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

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(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)
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