Saturday, 24 November 2007

Sweden's Daniel Chopra will take a one shot lead into the final round of the MasterCard Masters at Huntingdale Golf Club in Melbourne after a sublime putting performance helped him record a third round 65.
Chopra carved  up Huntingdale with eight birdies and a bogey, but it was his work on the greens which proved the difference, as he registered just 23 putts on a days when he overtook a posse of Australians to reach pole position.

The Swede’s total of 204, 12 under par, helped him into a slender lead over Aaron Baddeley (69) and Kurt Barnes (65) with another Australian, Rod Pampling in fourth place three shots off the pace.

Chopra picked up birdies at the fourth, fifth, ninth and 10th before putting together three straight birdies from the 14th after dropping a shot at the 12th. A birdie on the seventh, plus nine pars, made up his round.

Moving day lived up to its reputation with constant changes in the leaderboard during a perfect afternoon for golf on Melbourne's sand-belt. The course averaged over two shots better than the opening two days, but Baddeley and in particular overnight leader Robert Allenby, did not cash in.

Baddeley's round was a mixed one, initially dropping a shot before picking up four shots in five holes around the turn to jump into the lead. He slipped on the 12th and 16th, but an eagle at the 14th kept him well in contention for his first gold jacket.

Barnes made his move with five birdies in the space of eight holes from the fourth. He bogeyed the 13th, but then picked up shots on the 14th and 16th and the 18th - the hardest hole on the course - to finish with a 65.

Pampling is three shots off the pace on nine under par after a 67, which featured seven birdies plus two bogeys.

Allenby (73) was the only golfer in the top 35 not to break par. Allenby birdied the first, putting a gap between he and Baddeley initially, but lost ground with consecutive bogeys on the 10th and 11th. He birdied the 14th but bogeyed the 18th and has gone from a shot clear to four behind Chopra.

Joining him on that score are Stuart Appleby (68) of Australia and England’s Richard Finch, who moved into the top ten with a round of 67 for 208, eight under par.

After a bogey at the fifth, Appleby grabbed five birdies in seven holes around the bend, and moved to nine under par at the 17th. But like Allenby, he was left to rue a bogey at the last.

Englishman Finch recorded six birdies in his first ten holes and then made another at the 15th to get the 30 year old to ten under par, but he double bogeyed the 16th for a 67.


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