Friday, 19 March 2010
2008 Australian Masters: Day 3  (Getty Images)
2008 Australian Masters: Day 3 (Getty Images)

Robert Allenby and Michael Sim have a two shot lead going into the final round of an enthralling Sportsbet Australian Masters at Huntingdale.

Chasing his third Sportsbet Australian Masters title, Allenby landed a rare and precious albatross en route to a five under par 67.

But alongside him at ten under is his third round playing partner Sim, the 24 year old former World Number One amateur who is starting to realise his potential after two years disrupted by stress fractures in his lower back.

Huntingdale member Ashley Hall sits alone in third place two shots off the pace following his 68, while Rod Pampling (70), Anthony Summers (71) and Englishman Steve Webster (70) are at seven under.

No less than seven players either held the lead outright or shared it during the third round including overnight leader Tim Clark who surrendered 28 places following his disappointing four over 76.

While short on details, Allenby could recollect having scored albatrosses twice before, but never in a setting with so much at stake.

While the 35 year old agreed his 244 yard three wood second at the par five seventh will be up there forever as a career highlight, he insisted it is the big picture that counts.

"The most important thing was just to put myself in position," Allenby said.

"I did a lot of good things out there today so I'm pretty happy with my performance."

Sim's day did not start well - he bogeyed the first and the third and when Allenby's albatross dropped, the West Australian had slipped five behind his playing partner.

But Sim worked his way back into it with a hat-trick of birdies at the sixth, seventh and eighth and began to believe that something special was happening when he dropped a 12 foot putt for eagle at the 607 yard par five 14th.

"I just hit the ball solid today, a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and just gave myself a lot of opportunities," was Sim's simple summation of his round.

The stakes and the pressure will be ramped up when Sim and Allenby pair up again on Sunday for what Sim believes may develop into matchplay.

"You've just got to stick to your game plan," he said.

"It's the first time for me in a final group and that's going to be different. There's going to be people out there supporting Robert because he's from Victoria and I've just got to stay in the moment, stay within each shot and if it happens, it happens."

Allenby said he was primed and ready for the contest.

"They all want to take me on, that's the nature of the beast," he said.

"I think it's awesome that he is playing so well. He will be a great player. I'm excited for him and looking forward to the challenge that he throws out."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1FRASER, MarcusAUS18-12
T1PAMPLING, RodneyAUS18-12
3ALLENBY, RobertAUS18-9
T4CLARK, TimRSA18-8
T4NOREN, AlexanderSWE18-8
T4GREEN, NathanAUS18-8
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