Dermot McElroy is going well in the South African Stroke Play. Pictured at Royal Portrush in last year’s Irish Close by Pat Cashman.Dermot McElroy fired an eagle and two birdies in a solid 70 to lie seven shots off the lead in the South African Stroke Play Championship in George.

The Ballymena international also had two bogeys on his card but still moved up 12 places to joint 11th on three under par at Oubaai Golf Club with Lucan’s Richard O’Donovan the next best of the Irish in 14th on two under after a 71 after a windy day at the South African venue.

South Africa’s Haydn Porteous (70) leads by two shots on 10 under 206 from Alejandro Tosti (68), Brady Watt (70) and Werner Ferreira (73).

Belvoir Park’s Harry Diamond (72) and Knock’s Nicky Grant (73) are the only other Irish players in red figures as they share 17th on one under.

Moyola Park’s Chris Selfridge, who was five over for his third round with eight holes to play, fought back to card a 75 but still slipped to joint 21st on level par.

“That was a long day on the course!” Selfridge tweeted. “Five hours of grinding in strong winds. Managed to keep it respectable and shoot 75.”

West Waterford’s Gary Hurley did well to come back from three over after nine to shoot a level par 72 for a share of 27th on two over.

Mourne’s Reeve Whitson is a shot further back on 219 after a bogey at the par-five 18th yielded a third successive 73.

A triple bogey eight at the seventh ruined the day for Headfort’s Rory McNamara, who signed for a 78 to share 42nd on five over 221.

South African Stroke Play after 54 holes (click for scoreboard)

1 Haydn Porteous 69 67 70 206
T11 Dermot McElroy 74 69 70  213
T14 Richard O’Donovan 69 74 71 214
T17 Harry Diamond 71 72 72 215
T17 Nicky Grant 70 72 73 215
T21 Chris Selfridge 72 69 75 216
T27 Gary Hurley 73 73 72 218 three over after 9
T33 Reeve Whitson 73 73 73 219
T42 Rory McNamara 74 69 78 221