Brilliant 62 rockets Bekker to top of British Challenge leaderboard

Oliver Bekker produced one of the best rounds of his career on Saturday with a sparkling 10-under-par 62 which took him to the top of the leaderboard of the Challenge Tour’s British Challenge Presented by Modest! Golf Management at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.

Even with a bogey on his card, his 10-under-par total was two better than even the superb eight-under carded by Spain’s Javier Sainz who climbed into third place on 14-under, four behind Bekker. Chile’s Hugo Leon was in second place on 16-under, two behind Bekker after a third-round three-under 69.

Bekker set things up for a good score right from the start of his round, making consecutive birdies on the first and second, and then again on the sixth and seventh. Another on the ninth saw him turn in five-under 31, and, when he eagled the par-five 10th, it was clear that a special round was coming. A birdie on 12 took him to 16-under and the lead. So the bogey-five on the 14 came as something of a surprise and he lost the lead.

But he responded to the setback right away with a birdie on 15, and, when he picked up two more shots with consecutive birdies once more, this time on 17 and 18, and he put himself in the box seat to push for his maiden win on the Challenge Tour.

Bekker has 14 tournaments under his belt on the Challenge Tour this season, and took advantage of the three-tournament South African start to the season with a share of second in the Limpopo Championship and of third in the Dimension Data Pro-Am.

He has made a decision to pursue winning his European Tour card through the Challenge Tour, and two more top-10s – 10th in the Open de Bretagne and third in the Euram Bank Open – have seen him reach 12th on the Challenge Tour rankings. A win this week would virtually seal his card for him, as well as giving him a boost in confidence for the remainder of the season.

JC Ritchie came up with a good third round of his own. His six-under-par 66 saw him climb 25 places on the leaderboard into a share of 13th on 10-under-par.

Hennie du Plessis had a three-over-par 75 to slip to a share of 62nd on level-par for the tournament.

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