MALELANE, South Africa (Reuters) - European Tour rookie Sebastien Gros made nine birdies in a sparkling 63 to surge into contention after the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at the Leopard Creek Country Club on Saturday.
The Frenchman was one under after opening rounds of 71 and 72 but struck form with a bogey-free day to finish in joint second on the leaderboard at 10 under par, three shots behind home favorite Charl Schwartzel.
Gros was level with compatriot Benjamin Hebert, who had a mixed day as he carded a 68.
The 26-year-old Gros, playing just his second European Tour event after finishing second on the Challenge Tour last season, hit the low round of the week and missed a putt on the last for a 10-under-par 62.
"That was the first time in my life that I had a 10-under putt," Gros, whose only other tour appearance was a tied 52nd at the Madeira Islands Open in August, told reporters. "I'm very pleased with what happened today.
"It was not that good from the tee but I was recovering back and every time I had a good opportunity I made it so the entire round was really good.
"I'm very pleased because even if I had a great season on the Challenge Tour, you never know how you compare to the top players in Europe or South Africa so being in contention is just a good feeling."
Schwartzel, a three-time winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship, led by five shots going in Saturday’s round but lost his fluency of the opening two days and could only muster a two-under-par 70, including three birdies and one bogey. South African Dylan Frittelli carded a 66 and was alone in fourth on eight under par, five shots behind Schwartzel.
Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Rob Hodgetts; email@example.com; +27832722948; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org