|South African Open third-round leaderboard|
|-15 C Paisley (Eng); -14 B Grace (SA); -12 J Blaauw (SA), C Koepke (US), A Saddier (Fra); -11 D Fichardt (SA)|
|Selected others: -9 R Bland (Eng); -7 D Evans (Eng); -6 C Ford (Eng); -5 M Wallace (Eng), A Sullivan (Eng)|
Chris Paisley moved a step closer to claiming his first European Tour title by taking a one-shot lead into day four of the South African Open.
England’s Paisley, 31, shot a third-round 70 at Glendower Golf Club to move to 15 under, with home favourite Branden Grace a stroke back after a 66.
“I’m really proud with how I’ve played, I felt really calm and never really felt stressed,” said Paisley.
Adrien Saddier, halfway co-leader with Paisley, fell three shots off the pace.
Paisley, from Hexham, shot a round containing three birdies and a bogey at the 16th to take a comfortable lead, but 29-year-old South African Grace birdied five of his last eight holes to come back into contention.
“Obviously playing with Gracie [in the final round], who’s won God knows how many times on Tour and obviously is a great player, and in his home country,” said Paisley. “I’m sure the crowd is going to be on his side. I’m just really excited about it.”
Grace, who became the first man to shoot 62 in a major at last year’s Open, claimed the most recent of his eight European Tour wins on home soil in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November.
“I got frustrated out there to be quite honest,” said Grace, who hit three eagles on his opening round on Thursday. “I thought I hit the ball superbly through 13 holes, but just couldn’t get it in the hole.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow big time. I’ve played myself right back into it and I’m really excited going into tomorrow.”