European golf’s man of the moment Pablo Martin extended his lead in the South Africa Open to three shots over the opening five holes of his third round at Pearl Valley today.
Winner of last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship, the 23-year-old Spaniard was two in front at halfway and after saving par from 18 feet at the second he made a 25-footer at the next and then two-putted the long fifth for another birdie.
Martin, in danger of losing his Tour card last month and 488th in the world when he travelled to South Africa, was up to 13 under par as a result.
Compatriot Alejandro Canizares, son of former Ryder Cup player Jose Maria, had become his closest challenger by then after hitting back from an opening bogey with three birdies in the next four.
Only South Africans have won the title in the last eight years, but Italian World Cup winner Edoardo Molinari was in joint third place at nine under with Dane Anders Hansen and leading home hope Louis Oosthuizen.