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McGUIGAN’S RECORD 63 NARROWS FISHER’S HARARE LEAD

He might not be in the lead going into the final round, but Doug McGuigan has all the momentum after his third-round course-record equalling nine-under-par 63 on Saturday in the 2017 Zimbabwe Open at Royal Harare Golf Club. Source : Sunshine Tour

He made 10 birdies and a bogey and he climbed to 11-under-par at the 54-hole mark, just two shots off the lead of Trevor Fisher Jnr, who had a 63 of his own in the second round, but slumped to a one-over 73 in the third.

“The first 27 holes of the tournament I was three-over-par,” said McGuigan, “and the next 27, I’m 14-under, so things have changed drastically. My puttting’s come right – the hole’s looking big and I’m reading the lines well.”

His only bogey came on the 10th, which served up 21 bogeys and three doubles on the day. “If you’re not on the right line of the tee, if you leave it a little bit right, you’re blocked out by the trees and there’s no punching out from these trees, because the rough’s too long under them. You can end up with double quicker than you think,” he said.

But the rest of his game was working swimmingly. “I hit a lot of greens,” he said, “and then the putting… if you’re putting well you can score. I missed a few fairways – I actually didn’t drive the ball well – but when I was in trouble, I chipped out and I got up and down a lot and that keeps the momentum going.”

His putting was certainly the standout feature of his round. He had just 22 putts, and that is always going to lead to a good score at this level.

Fisher, on the other hand, just battled from the start. He made bogey on the first, and followed that with a run of pars until the problematic 10th, where he made a second bogey. He got one stroke back on 11, but dropped again on 13, before making a 25-footer on the par-three 15th for birdie.

He was headed straight for the range when he came off. “I tried to find a feeling today, and I thought I found something,” he said, “and then it was just terrible. I hit my irons really badly, but thank goodness I chipped and putted really well, or I could have shot 80.

“I’d rather be two shots ahead than two shot behind, and if I can get four or five under tomorrow, it should be enough. But I’ve got to find a golf swing first,” he added.

Jaco Ahlers carded a four-under-par 68 to move into third place three shot off Fisher’s pace, while Toby Tree and Andrew Curlewis were one shot further back in fourth.

For McGuigan, the final round is something he is relishing. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he said. “The 63 is in the past now, and it’s going to be nice to be with Fish out there in the final group.”

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