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South African veteran faces showdown with Oosthuizen and Goosen

updated 1:15 PM EST, Sat January 7, 2012
South African golfer Tjaart van der Walt has yet to win a tournament since turning professional in 1996.
South African golfer Tjaart van der Walt has yet to win a tournament since turning professional in 1996.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tjaart van der Walt catches Louis Oosthuzen at the top of the Africa Open leaderboard
  • Veteran South African cards eight-under 65 to join major winner on 21 under par
  • Former European Tour No. 1 Retief Goosen is a shot behind going into final round
  • Defending champion Jonathan Byrd claims a one-shot lead at PGA Tour's opening event

(CNN) -- Tjaart van der Walt will seek to upstage two of his most illustrious golfing compatriots and win his first professional tournament at the Africa Open on Sunday.

The 37-year-old goes into the final round tied for the lead with 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and one shot ahead of two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen after carding a superb eight-under-par 65 in East London on Saturday.

Van der Walt, who finished second in a 2005 U.S. PGA Tour event, eliminated Oosthuizen's two-shot overnight lead as he started with four successive birdies and -- like his fellow South African -- picked up a shot at the final hole.

The world No. 347's only blemish at his home event came at the par-four eighth hole, and he was confident he could contend for his first title since turning pro in 1996 in the opening event of the 2012 European Tour season.

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"At the end of the day, the golf ball doesn't know that they are major champions," he said of his rivals. "I've played at the highest level, I've never won majors or big events, so who knows what can happen.

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"I do feel as if I am controlling the golf ball as well as I have in a long time. Not just tee to green, but on the greens as well. And that's a good sign for me. I'm entitled to forget the one bad shot I hit all day."

Defending champion Oosthuizen's only lapse came at the par-five 11th hole as he took four shots to reach the green.

"It was an elementary mistake really. Those little chip-outs seem easy, and I made the basic error of leaving it short of a tree for my approach to the green," the world No. 40 said.

Goosen, seeking his first European Tour win for five years, carded a flawless 66 to be on 20-under 199.

The 42-year-old, who topped the tour's Order of Merit money list in 2001 and 2002, was one shot clear of fourth-placed Englishman Danny Willett, who shot 65.

Another South African, Richard Sterne, was also in contention after firing seven birdies and an eagle in his 64 to claim fifth place on 202.

The 30-year-old, a five-time winner on the tour, is making his first outing in almost a year following back problems.

Meanwhile, defending champion Jonathan Byrd claimed a one-shot lead after Friday's first round of the PGA Tour's season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

The 33-year-old, whose only title last year came in Kapalua, carded six-under 67 on the Plantation Course to lead the 28-man field.

Fellow American Webb Simpson, who was runner-up in the 2011 FedEx Cup series and the tour's money list, was equal second with compatriots Steve Stricker and Michael Bradley plus Scotland's Martin Laird.

PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley was sixth after a 69, while veteran Korean K.J. Choi carded 70.

Lucas Glover, who beat Byrd in a playoff at the Wells Fargo Championship last season, withdrew before his tee-off due to a knee injury suffered while paddleboarding last weekend.

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