sport

Nightmare start for Grillo

A nightmare start to the final round from overnight leader Emiliano Grillo threw the Africa Open wide open on Sunday.

Grillo held a two-shot lead thanks to a brilliant 62 on Saturday, but ran up a quintuple-bogey nine on the first hole at East London Golf Club.

The 21-year-old Argentinian had already taken a penalty drop from an unplayable lie when he chipped his fourth shot into a greenside bunker, from where he needed two attempts to escape.

His sixth shot had rolled back off the green however and after chipping up to seven feet, he needed two putts to complete an extraordinary opening hole.

Having dropped just one shot in the previous 54 holes, Grillo suddenly found himself three off the lead shared by American John Hahn and South African Thomas Aiken.

Hahn had picked up birdies at the first and third while Aiken holed from 15ft for an eagle on the third, with compatriot Ulrich van den Berg also making an eagle on the third and birdie on the fourth to lie one behind alongside English duo Oliver Fisher and Richard Bland.

Grillo steadied the ship with a two-putt birdie on the par-five third, but a poor drive on the fifth cost him another shot and dropped him back to 15 under par.

That was four off the lead now shared by his playing partner Fisher and Aiken, Fisher having picked up shots at the third, fourth and sixth to hold the outright lead before a bogey on the seventh after overshooting the green.

Aiken almost drove the short par-four fifth to set up a simple birdie and saved par on the eighth from a greenside bunker to remain alongside Fisher on 19 under, one ahead of Hahn and defending champion Darren Fichardt.

After a long lull in proceedings, it was all change at the top of the leaderboard when Fisher bogeyed the 13th after missing the green with his approach and Aiken dropped a shot on the 14th after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.

A birdie on the par-five 15th therefore took Hahn into the outright lead on 19 under par, with Fisher, Aiken, Fichardt, Jaco van Zyl and England's David Horsey all 18 under.

Horsey had looked out of contention after a bogey on the first left him eight off the pace, but picked up shots on the fourth, sixth, eighth, 13th, 15th and 17th, the latter coming from long range across the green.

Horsey holed another long birdie putt on the 18th to complete a 65 and move into a share of the lead on 19 under, but Fisher and Aiken also picked up shots at the 14th and 15th respectively to make it a four-way tie for the lead.