De Jonge in contention in Hawaii

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Top Zimbabwean professional golfer Brendon de Jonge continues to impress on the United States PGA Tour after finishing in a share for third place after Saturday’s third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club.

The burly professional was well down the standings after shooting a first-day 71 on Thursday, but he put himself in contention with a blemish-free round that included eight birdies — four of which came in the final five holes for a superb 62 on Friday.

De Jonge’s 62 was just two strokes shy of tying the tournament record of 60 by Davis Love III in 1994.

On Saturday he continued with the same rich vein of form as he birdied the last two holes for a 67 to share third place with Charles Howell III at 10-under 200.

Going into the final round which teed off in the early hours of today De Jonge was trailing Americans Matt Every and Jeff Maggert who were on 12-under par by two shots.

De Jonge, unlike Howell or Wagner, has yet to win a Tour event, even though no player on Tour has made more birdies since 2009. De Jonge needed seven on Saturday just to shoot a 3-under 67.

“I’ve given myself a lot of really good chances to win,” he said. “I feel like I’m getting closer and closer.”
According to the USPGA Tour website since 2009, no player on the PGA Tour has made more birdies than De Jonge.

During that stretch, he’s carded 1 163 birdies — 45 more than his closest competitor in that category, Bo Van Pelt.

“I’ve always been a guy that’s made a fair few birdies,” de Jonge said. “I go at a lot of flags. At times I’ll make a lot of soft bogeys because of that.”

If he can avoid those soft bogeys, de Jonge could be in great shape in the final round to make a run at his first PGA Tour win.

In 2008, De Jonge was voted the Nationwide Tour’s Player of the Year. In his 91 Tour starts since then, he’s had 14 top-10 finishes.

Although he’s given himself chances to win on several occasions — at the 2010 Viking Classic, he was the co-leader through the first 36 holes and tied for second entering the final round before finishing tied for third — he has yet to seal the deal.