SYDNEY (Reuters) – Andrew Dodt will tee off with a two-shot shot lead for the third day in a row in the final round of the Australian PGA Championship after a two-under-par 70 kept him on top of the leaderboard on Saturday.
Adam Scott looked like reining in his fellow Australian when he eagled the ninth and set off on a back nine which he tore up on Friday, but the world number seven found the water twice and ended up with a 70 and a share of fourth.
Dodt’s mixture of five birdies and three bogeys on a windy day at Royal Pines left him on 14-under for the tournament, two clear of popular American Harold Varner III and Ashley Hall with Scott and John Senden (68) a further two shots back on 10-under.
“I guess I picked up where I left off yesterday, I feel really comfortable in the wind,” said Dodt, who has twice won similarly co-sanctioned European Tour events in the Asia-Pacific.
“I feel like my game can handle the wind, it’s more about controlling me and I thought I did that well today.”
Big-hitting Varner bagged eagles at the 15th and 17th, the latter when he holed his approach wedge off the pin, but his hot finish was stalled by a bogey after he found a bunker at the last and he finished with a 67.
Hall, who lost out to Jordan Spieth in a playoff at the Australian Open two weeks ago, also shot two eagles but bogeyed the last two holes for a 70 as the leading groups raced an approaching storm to get safely back into the clubhouse.
Scott has been lurking a few shots off the pace all week and he looked like he might make his move when, having picked up birdies at the third and eighth, he drained a long eagle putt at the par-five ninth.
He failed find the fairway on the first four holes on the back nine, however, and drives into the water at the 10th and 13th resulted in bogeys.
Even when he did get a shot back at the 15th, he followed that with a bogey at the 16th and he just missed a 10 foot birdie putt at the 18th which would have brought him to within three shots of the lead.
“I hit two in the water so there’s no escaping that,” Scott said. “But I’m still in there, there’s not that many in front but I’m going to have to out there and post a good number tomorrow.”
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Peter Rutherford)