sport

Bjorn on the rise in Durban

Ryder Cup hopeful Thomas Bjorn continued his remarkable fightback when the Volvo Golf Champions resumed at Durban Country Club on Saturday.

Bjorn found himself propping up the 36-man field after an opening 79 on Thursday, the Dane's seven-over par round leaving him 12 shots behind leader Raphael Jacquelin.

A second round of 68 repaired some of the damage and reduced his deficit to 10 shots, with Holland's Joost Luiten, England's Tommy Fleetwood and defending champion Louis Oosthuizen sharing the lead on seven under.

And that deficit was cut in half by a front nine of 31 in the third round, Bjorn taking full advantage of the calmest conditions of the week to birdie the third, fifth and sixth and eagle the par-five eighth.

The 42-year-old - who is second in the European Ryder Cup points list after two victories last year - was not the only player off to a fast start, with 50-year-old former European number one Colin Montgomerie carding a hat-trick of birdies from the second to improve to three under.

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington was not so fortunate thanks to a bogey on the second which dropped him back to one under, but the Dubliner at least had regular caddie Ronan Flood back on the bag.

Flood, who is also Harrington's brother-in-law, was suffering from food poisoning before Friday's second round and eventually had to call it quits on the sixth hole.

He was taken to the clubhouse to be treated by a doctor and recovered in time to resume his duties on Saturday, although amateur stand-in Pat Cashman had offered his services if required.

Cashman, 65, is a photographer for the Golfing Union of Ireland who has known Harrington for 35 years and was in the gallery following his fellow Irishman while in South Africa on holiday.

Harrington said: "He (Ronan) felt like he was getting in the way and when we finally said goodbye he could not physically stand up. I really did feel bad because he was lying there, but thankfully there was a friend of ours out there who holidays down here and he took over.

"He started off like he was carrying bows and arrows but by the end he had the double-strap going (on the bag) and was using all the lingo."