Olazabal rolls back years in pursuit of good Grace

 

Fancourt

Europe's captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, still has a chance to kick off this Ryder Cup year with his first win for seven years – from the depths of 596th in the world.

After a wet and wild day that saw his fellow Spaniard Pablo Martin crash to a 90 and the overnight leader, Branden Grace, take 75, Olazabal is only two shots off the pace going into the final round of the Volvo Golf Champions at Fancourt in South Africa.

By far the lowest-ranked player in the 35-man winners-only European Tour event, the 46-year-old stands eight under par, two behind Grace and the Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts. Olazabal managed a one-under-par 72 despite driving into the bushes with his opening shot of the day and then taking a double-bogey five on the 17th.

That looked to be very costly, but Grace – four clear at halfway, just as Colsaerts had been after his opening course-record 64 – double-bogeyed the same hole.

In contrast, the big-hitting Colsaerts eagled the last for a 69, needing only a drive and eight-iron to make the green on the 549-yard hole.

He and Grace, last man in after winning last week's Joburg Open, are a shot in front of two more South Africans, Retief Goosen and the Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, with Olazabal alone in fifth. Ireland's Padraig Harrington and the 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen are one stroke further back, then comes Ernie Els on six under.

Olazabal, who has already firmlyruled out the possibility of winning an eighth cap against the Americans, has been playing only a limited schedule during the last few seasons because of his continuing battle with rheumatism. "There's always a chance you might not win again when your game is off," he said. "It's hard to be positive at times, but I know I can fight. It would mean a lot. I do have a long journey ahead of me, but I'm ready for it and want to give myself the best chance.

"I'm excited about what I have to do, not so much about what might happen. It would be a great achievement if I hit seven or eight solid drives – just as I do on the range – and shoot a solid score."

Harrington finally won his battle with the 18th hole. After two double-bogey sevens he two-putted for birdie like Olazabal and was round in a three-under 70. At 89th in the world the three-time major winner is trying to climb back into the top 64 in time for next month's Accenture World Match Play. He can achieve that with a win today, although the cut-off point is not for another three weeks.

"There's a glaring part of my game missing – my routine is not flowing – but going forward I am quite positive I can fix that," Harrington said after making birdies at three of the last four holes.

Colsaerts, who topped the driving- distance statistics in Europe two years ago, did not even know how far his closing drive went, simply describing it as "enormous". His eight-iron, though, flew 200 yards downwind and he said making the 30-foot putt that followed was "the cherry on top".

He must be wondering what is going to happen next, though, after rounds of 64, 76 and 69. Grace was at the Tour qualifying school only a month ago, but now has the chance of back-to-back victories.

Martin, meanwhile, is 30 strokes back in last place after a round that contained a quadruple-bogey eight, a triple-bogey seven, four double-bogeys and two bogeys.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform