Albertse and Nienaber set up challenge for SDC Open glory

Feb 3, 2024 | Featured, Sunshine Tour

By Michael Vlismas for Sunshine Tour

South Africa’s Wilco Nienaber and Louis Albertse head into Sunday’s final round of the SDC Championship at Zebula Country Club in a tie for the lead on 19-under-par and sharing a philosophy to keep the game as simple as possible.

On a day of low scoring in the bushveld, Nienaber signed for a 64 and Albertse a 65 to see them finish one shot clear of Welshman Rhys Enoch, who posted a third round of 66.

Earlier in the day Lyle Rowe surged up the leaderboard with a 63 and a tournament total of 13-under-par, and Nikhil Rama played the back nine in 29 on his way to a 65 and a total of 11-under-par.

Both Nienaber and Albertse responded to that early pressure.

Nienaber started with a birdie and eagle on his first two holes. “I was so excited after my first two holes that I hit a seven-iron into the bush on the third and made bogey there. But when you make a birdie on the first hole it just feels nice. It’s nice to start like that and you feel like you’ve just got to keep going. I just wanted to be at the top at the end of the day and wasn’t too bothered about what anybody else was doing,” he said.

It was the second 64 of his week so far. “It felt pretty easy out there again. I wasn’t too happy about the two bogeys I made, but the rest was good. I hit it on average a little closer to the flags than the previous two days and putted well. I’m hitting it well enough to make birdies out there. I just need to keep the bogeys off the card. It’s been a while since I’ve been in this position but I know how it will feel and what I need to do in the final round. I’m just trying to keep to the basics – one plus one equals two kind of thing. When you overthink this game that’s when it becomes really complicated.”

Albertse has been taking a similar approach.

“I told myself there will be pressure early in the round and I just stuck to my game-plan. Nick Dunlap said recently that pressure is a privilege. I’m very pleased with my performance and I have a good season on the go. I’m just trying to make the game as easy as possible and play the game I know I can play. It’s never easy to win no matter where you are and what you’re doing. But I’m going to just enjoy the final day and do my best.”

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