Consistency key as Bezuidenhout stays in the hunt

Mar 7, 2021 | Featured, South Africans abroad

Christiaan Bezuidenhout did his usual consistent thing on Saturday as he carded a two-under-par 70 in the third round of the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational to keep himself in 11th position going into the final round.

It was his third successive 70 in the event, and it leaves him at six-under for the tournament, five behind the leader Lee Westwood, who fired a seven-under 65 to race to the top at 11-under. Westwood leads by one from Bryson DeChambeau and 36-hole leader Corey Conners of Canada.

“Even though I had those two wins back in South Africa last year, I didn’t feel on top of my game there,” said Bezuidenhout. “My coach and I have made a couple of changes to get more consistency in my swing and in my ball striking and I feel it’s starting to creep into my game now. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but, yeah, my thing is just to be a consistent ball-striker and to give myself chances every week.”

Bezuidenhout made four birdies and two bogeys in his third round. There was just one birdie on his card in the opening nine, as he picked up a shot on the par-five sixth with a more conventional tee shot than DeChambeau attempted. The American took the long route over the water, hitting his tee shot 370 yards to 70 from the green, while Bezuidenhout drove303 yards, had nearly 240 to the green and made birdie with an up-and-down from the greenside bunker. De Chambeau’s fireworks yielded the same result.

The South African Open champion picked up three more birdies on his way in, on the 14th, 16th and 17th, and he made bogey on the 15th and 18th in an eventful closing stretch on a course he clearly enjoys.

‘“It’s just my type of course,” he said. “It’s not a bomber’s course, like you can’t overpower it over here. I’m not a long hitter of the ball, but I hit it pretty straight, so, yeah, my course management has been good and I was just trying to keep the soft bogeys off the card and keep hitting greens and give yourself chances.”

Branden Grace continued his good play with a third-round of five-under 67 to move into a share of 22nd at four-under for the tournament. Erik van Rooyen carded a level-par 72 to share 61st at two-over.

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