JOHANNESBURG (AP)Thriston Lawrence put himself on course for victory in his home South African Open after a third-round 67 on Saturday.

Lawrence maintained his two-stroke lead from overnight with a second straight round of 5 under par, finishing the Blair Atholl course with a sixth birdie.

”Started off nicely with a few long (putts) and then sort of lost momentum around the turn,” Lawrence said. ”But 18 under . . . I didn’t think the winning score would be 18 under and I’m there after three rounds. But still a lot of work to do tomorrow.”

He has two European tour wins; the Joburg Open a year ago and the European Masters in August. He won the latter on the first playoff hole after starting the last round with a three-shot lead.

Clement Sordet of France was his nearest challenger at 16 under. Sordet also birdied the 18th in a wild 6-under 66 round which included an eagle and a double bogey.

Lawrence said, ”Myself and Clement played really well, sort of feeding from one another. It was good fun.”

Sordet was still waiting for his first tour win, along with the Swede in third place, Jens Fahrbring, at 12 under.

Fahrbring finished on a birdie, too, to card a 3-under 69.

Ockie Strydom, who was two behind Lawrence overnight, followed his course record 63 with a 75 in the third round.

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