Golf: Meronk retains lead at Alfred Dunhill Championship

Polish golfer Adrian Meronk carded a one-under-par 71 at Leopard Creek Country Club. PHOTO: AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Adrian Meronk, once considered "odd" by Polish friends because he played golf, clung to a one-shot lead Saturday (Nov 28) after three rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

The 27-year-old, born in Germany but reared in Poland, carded a one-under-par 71 at Leopard Creek Country Club for a 202 total in the European Tour/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned tournament.

South African teenager Jayden Schaper fired a 67 for the equal best round of the day and second place, with partly cloudy conditions easing the discomfort of playing in 29 degree celsius heat.

A further two shots back on 205 is another South African, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, one of only two competitors among the first nine on the leaderboard who have can boast of a European Tour victory.

The other is Dane Joachim B. Hansen, winner of the Joburg Open last Sunday, who was two shots ahead of the field at once stage before a quadruple bogey eight at 11 severely dented hopes of back-to-back titles.

Hansen finished with a 73 to trail Meronk by five shots going into the final round over a course that borders the world renowned Kruger National Park game reserve.

"My childhood friends thought I was a bit odd because we all played many sports, but I was the only one who played golf," recalled Meronk.

"I am still considered a bit of an oddity at home and this is something I am trying to change," added the first Polish golfer to top the leaderboard during a European Tour event.

Meronk shared the first round lead with Robin Roussel from France and moved three shots clear at the halfway stage.

The frontrunner started the third round poorly with bogeys on two and three before regaining his composure to birdie 10, 11 and 13.

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