Matt Jones coped best yesterday with difficult afternoon conditions at the Australian Open for a three-under-par 68 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round.
Jones, who led by one stroke after the second round, had a three-round total of 13-under 200 at The Australian Golf Club. Cameron Tringale of the US was in second after a 69.
Jones said that he had no idea what score it would take to win today.
“It depends on what the conditions are like. Just try not to make a double and a triple on the front nine, like I did last time, and make it a little easier,” he said.
Japanese amateur Takumi Kayana and Louis Oosthuizen, who both shot 70, as well as Paul Casey, who had a 71, were tied for third at nine-under-par, four strokes behind.
Casey fell out of the lead with a double-bogey six on the par-four ninth hole after hitting into a green-side bunker with a difficult lie to exit.
“It was a flat day. I just never really got going — not much to really say,” Casey said. “When I had opportunities, I didn’t capitalize and there was obviously a couple of errors in there. But how do you get around this course without making errors?”
Marc Leishman shot 70 and was tied for eighth, six behind Jones, the 2015 Australian Open winner.
“Tough greens. You really had to fight your way around today,” Leishman said. “It was a tricky wind and I didn’t get off to the best start — a couple over par through 10, but fought pretty hard, made a couple of putts there on the back nine. I think the course is getting firmer and tougher, especially if the wind stays like this.”
Kanaya, the world No. 1 amateur, had some good fortune along the way. On the par-three 15th hole, his birdie putt from off the green sat on the lip of the hole — and Kanaya buried his head in his hands for a few seconds thinking that he had missed, but when the crowd roared, he looked up to see that the ball had dropped. He waved his hat to the spectators as he retrieved the ball from the hole.
He bogeyed the 17th hole, but had a birdie on the 18th hole to stay close to Jones.
In a 12-way tie for 17th place after the third round, amateur Yu Chun-an of Taiwan shot two birdies, giving him a three-over-par 74.
The Australian Open is the first qualifying tournament for next year’s British Open, which is to be held from July 16 to 19 at the Royal St George’s Golf Club. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 at the Australian Open and who are not already exempt would qualify.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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