Late eagle leaves McElroy one behind in South Africa
Dermot McElroy. Picture by Pat Cashman /

Dermot McElroy. Picture by Pat Cashman /

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy eagled the last from 20 feet to go into the final round of the South African Amateur Strokeplay Championship just one stroke off the lead.

As Scotland's Bradley Neil posted a five under 67 to edge in front on 13 under par, overnight leader McElroy closed with a sweet eagle three at Benoni Country Club to shoot 70 and close the gap to the minimum.


The 20-year old birdied the second but then bogeyed the third and fourth to turn in one over before Neil made five birdies in seven holes from the eighth to edge in front.

McElroy had a brace of bogeys at the fourth and fifth and another at the 15th, but managed to eliminate the damage with three birdies.

Having followed a birdie at the 13th with a bogey at the next, McElroy birdied the 16th to get back to level for the day before picking up two shots at the last.

“I drove the ball really badly on the front nine and I was scrambling for par all the time,” the Ulsterman told the South African Golf Association website. “I missed a lot of putts all through the round, so it was good to hole the 20-footer at the last.”

South African's Jason Smith (68) and Stefan Cronje (69) are tied for third on 11 under with West Waterford's Gary Hurley (72) and Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan (70) the next best of the Irish in joint 17th on five under.

Naas' Jack Hume shot 69 to move up to joint 23rd on four under with Moyola Park's Chris Selfridge, who was around in level par 72.

Mourne's Reeve Whitson shot 72 to share 60th on two over par while Balbriggan's Robbie Cannon had to birdie his last two holes for a 74 and a share of 70th on four over.