Yorkshire golf: Jamie Bower under par for third round in a row at Blue Valley but rues missed birdie chances

Yorkshire champion Jamie Bower (Picture: Chris Stratford).

Yorkshire champion Jamie Bower (Picture: Chris Stratford).

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YORKSHIRE champion Jamie Bower added a third round of three-under-par 69 to two openings 71s in the South African Amateur Stroke Play championship in Gauteng.

Bower, who won the Gauteng North Open last week - the first event on a six-week trip as a member of England Golf's squad - had just one bogey, at the eighth hole at Blue Valley Golf and Country Estate.

He collected four birdies, at the third, 13th, 16th and 18th, to stand five under overall.

Despite sub-par rounds on the first two days, Bower felt he had not played well, and lamented his inability to wield his putter to full effect.

"I played very poor for the first two rounds, but a little better today," he said. "I've not really been at my best on the greens so I'm struggling to make birdies.

"I had a few three-putt greens in the first couple of rounds, but none today - but I hardly had any one-putt greens either.

"I'm hitting plenty of greens, but just not quite getting it close enough. I keep leaving myself around 15-20ft and just can't make any of them."

He added: "Hopefully I can shoot a low one tomorrow and move up a little."

The Meltham man had opened the tournament with three birdies and two bogeys in his first eight holes before closing the day with 10 consecutive pars.

He began day two with a further 12 pars in succession before book-ending a bogey at 15 with birdies at 13 and 18.

The lead was held jointly by Scotland's Ewen Ferguson and South African Jason Smith - a member at Irene Country Club where Bower triumphed last week - on the 17-under-par mark.