Andrew Dodt extended his lead to three shots as the third round of the Australian PGA Championship got under way at RACV Royal Pines Resort.
The home favourite held a share of the lead after round one and opened up a two-shot advantage with a 67 on Friday as he made an impressive start to the 2017 Race to Dubai.
The 30 year old finished 145th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex last season, making just seven of 20 cuts, but kept his exemption via his victory at the 2015 True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain.
That was his second win on the European Tour and he stayed well in contention for number three as a birdie on the first moved him to 13 under after three holes.
Ashley Hall parred his first three holes to stay at ten under, a shot clear of 2013 champion Adam Scott who had a single birdie in his opening three.
Dodt got off to the perfect start with an opening birdie and with playing partner Ryan Fox dropping a shot, there were just two players within five shots of the lead.
Another bogey from the New Zealander on the third then dropped him to six under but Scott was moving in the opposite direction as he picked up a birdie on the same hole.
Harold Varner III was then level par for the day at seven under, with Steve Webster a shot behind as he charged through the field.
The Englishman was seven under for the day with one to play after picking up eight birdies and a single bogey to sit along side Fox and John Senden.
Sam Brezel, Scott Hend, Stephen Leaney, Brett Rumford, Cameron Smith and Julian Suri were then all eight shots off the lead.
|1||VARNER III, Harold||USA||18||-19|
|T6||VAN DRIEL, Darius||NED||18||-8|