Second-round leader American Bobby Gates shot a one-under-par 71 in windy conditions to hold a one-stroke lead after the third round of the Australian PGA yesterday.
Gates, who will play on the US PGA tour next season after qualifying from the Nationwide tour this year, had a 54-hole total of 12-under-par 204. He made a 10-foot putt for par on the 18th after his approach missed the green.
Australian Aaron Townsend, who led for much of the back nine, bogeyed the final two holes to shoot 70 and was level in second with Peter Senior, a regular on the US Champions tour who shot 68.
Akio Sadakata of Japan was in a group tied for fourth after a 67, two behind Gates.
Gusting winds on the Coolum course kept the scores higher than the opening two rounds, with 42 double bogeys and eight triple bogeys or worse recorded by the cut-down field of 70 yesterday.
“This is a course where it’s difficult to avoid bogeys,” Gates said. “The first five holes were tough. I don’t think there was a stage where we knew what the wind was going to do, and if we did, it changed quickly.”
Townsend, who turned professional in 2003, has only two wins on the Australian secondary tour in his career.
The best round of the day came from Australian Steve Bowditch, who shot 66 and was the only player on the leaderboard who started off the 10th tee. Organizers sent yesterday’s groups off in threesomes off two tees because of threatened bad weather, but outside of a few early showers, the day was free of forecast thunderstorms.
Last week’s Australian Open winner Geoff Ogilvy shot 71 and defending champion Robert Allenby 72. Both were six strokes behind the leader.
Gates got an early gift from his two playing partners — Liang Wenchong of China and Australia’s John Senden, who trailed the American by one going into the third round — when both double-bogeyed the par-five first hole. Senden went into the water that lines the left of the fairway and Liang took two shots to get out of a greenside bunker.