McElroy three off the pace in South Africa
Dermot McElroy is in contention in South Africa. Picture Pat Cashman /

Dermot McElroy is in contention in South Africa. Picture Pat Cashman /

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy goes into the last two rounds of the Free State Vodacom Amateur Stroke Play just three strokes adrift of leader Michael Dixon.

The Ulster star added a 69 to his opening 66 to share third place on nine under par as Dixon followed his 64 with a 68 to lead by a stroke from South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

West Waterford's Gary Hurley is the next best of the eight strong Irish challenge, five shots off the pace in solo sixth on seven under thanks to a second round 67 with Moyola Park's Chris Selfridge (68) ninth on 140.

The greens have proved to be testing for many by Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan had a much better day on Saturday, posting a 69 to make the cut and share 33rd on 146 with Mourne's Reeve Whitson, who had a disappointing 77.

Balbriggan's Robbie Cannon (68-73) and Naas' Jack Hume (70-71) are just outside the Top-10 on three-under 141 with Headfort's Rory McNamara (70-73) tied for 20th on 143.

Free State Vodacom Amateur Stroke Play Open Championship

Schoemanpark Golf Club, Bloemfontein

After 36 holes

132 Michael Dixon (Eng) 64 68

133 Christiaan Bezuidenhout

135 Dermot McElroy 66 69, Stefan Cronje

136 Gerlou Roux

137 Gary Hurley 70 67

138 Josef Fourie

139 Joubert Van Eeeden

140 Chris Selfridge 72 68, Thomas Watson

141 Jack Hume 70 71, Robbie Cannon 68 73, James Hart du Preez, Hendrikus Stoop, Zander Lombard

142 Gareth Sargent, Darin de Smidt, Russel Franz, Jarred Miltz

143 Darryn Van Zyl, Jacques Taljaard, Blaine Dormehl, Rory McNamara 70 73, Ruan Conradie, Tristen Strydom, Jason Smith

--- Also made the cut ---

146 Reeve Whitson 69 77, Geoff Lenehan 77 69
*(On-line scoring is unavailable)