Golf: Schwartzel on course for victory on his 2016 debut

Schwartzel bagged an eagle and three birdies in a four-under-par 66 that earned a nine-under tally of 201.
Schwartzel bagged an eagle and three birdies in a four-under-par 66 that earned a nine-under tally of 201.PHOTO: AFP

PRETORIA (REUTERS) - South African Charl Schwartzel is poised to mark his first appearance of the year with a win after taking a one-shot lead in the Tshwane Open third round on Saturday.

The 2011 US Masters champion bagged an eagle and three birdies in a four-under-par 66 that earned a nine-under tally of 201, one ahead of compatriot Zander Lombard who carded the best round of the day with a scintillating 63.

Schwartzel dropped his first shot since Thursday after finding a bunker at the 18th, ending a run of 40 holes without a bogey.

Lombard found a purple patch of form when he struck five birdies and an eagle in seven holes from the sixth.

A further two shots back on six under is Joburg Open champion Haydn Porteous (68) who stayed in touch with the leaders despite a triple-bogey on the par-four seventh hole.

Level in a tie for third spot is overnight leader Anthony Michael (71).

The Pretoria Country Club has been a tough challenge this week and only 13 players are under par at the European Tour event.