Photo: Getty Images / Luke Walker
Round three report
Erik van Rooyen once again found himself in contention for a maiden European Tour victory as he birdied five of his last six holes to take a one shot lead into the final round of the Scandinavian Invitation.
The South African was the European Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year last season with five top tens and he has already matched that total this term, with two second place finishes.
He arrived at Hills Golf & Sports Club fresh off a top five at the D+D Real Czech Masters and a third round 64 in Gothenburg moved him to 13 under, one clear of Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, Australia’s Wade Ormsby and China’s Wu Ashun.
The 29-year-old linked up Alex Gaugert earlier this season – hiring his former University of Minnesota team mate as his caddie – and after his round he had no problem giving his bagman plenty of credit.
Overnight leader Fitzpatrick had looked in control for most of the day but dropped three shots in as many holes from the 14th before a closing eagle from off the green handed him a 69. Ormsby had opened his week with a 62 but followed it with a 71 before registering a 65 on day three, while Wu was a picture of consistency in his 67.
South Africa’s Dean Burmester matched the lowest round of the week with a 62 to get to ten under alongside local hero Henrik Stenson, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, France’s Alexander Levy and Irishman Gavin Moynihan.
Stenson double bogeyed the first but a long putt on the third brought the biggest cheer of the day in a 69, and he was a shot clear of American John Catlin, Belgian Thomas Detry and Englishman Matthew Southgate.
Erik van Rooyen: ”It was a little scrappy on the front so I didn’t feel like it was going to be a 29. I was quite surprised and really happy.
”A caddie for me isn’t just a guy that carries the bag and then goes and has a few beers after the round. For me, it’s just as important as the rest of the stuff that I do.
”We’ve known each other for a very long time so he knows me really well. He knows when to kick me in the butt when I need it and tell me not to be a child on the golf course and he also knows when to say, ’dude, really well done’. We’re a great team.”
Wade Ormsby: “I was struggling a bit on the front nine but started rolling the putter and all of a sudden, I think I was five under on the backside and tried to make a meal of the last, so a huge save so I’m pretty stoked.
“Just trying to get my game exactly where I want it and then go out and try and fight these guys again. The putter started behaving again today, missed a couple of short ones early, and after that I putted good.”
Wu Ashun: “It was a beautiful day today with the sunshine and my game was solid. I made a couple good shots and some easy birdies, so a good round.
“Last week I was working really hard with my coach on my swing and putting too, so that worked and this is my first week so that is really good.”
Matthew Fitzpatrick: “It was just a couple of bad swings that cost me a couple of shots. I felt comfortable all day, played really solid, just didn’t make anything. We were just a little bit out with the clubs and that made it a little difficult to hole 25 footers for birdie.
“When I hit it (eagle putt on 18), I thought it was a good pace to have a chance distance wise, and it got about three quarters of the way and was actually online, and I thought this has got a really good chance. Fortunately, I nailed it right in the middle.
“Billy (Foster) brings experience. He is brilliantly honest in a good way. I said coming up 18, as a genuine question, ‘Do you think we weren’t aggressive enough today?’ and he told me how it was. He said I didn’t play well enough and that is what you want. You want it straight, so that is the big advantage he brings.
“I always want to win. For me after winning three years in a row it became a bit of a goal, whether it is one win or as many wins in a year, you know if I win now or later this year it will be winning five years in a row, so that is a goal for me to keep that up, but I will be going out there tomorrow trying to win.”