Saturday, 03 December 2016
Harold Varner III at the Australian PGA Championship  (Getty Images)
Harold Varner III at the Australian PGA Championship (Getty Images)

Harold Varner III produced a brilliant finish to his third round at RACV Royal Pines Resort to put himself right in contention at the Australian PGA Championship for the second year in a row.

The American lost out to Nathan Holman in a play-off 12 months ago and will head into the final day on the Gold Coast just two shots behind leader Andrew Dodt.

Varner's chances looked to be fading as he stood on the 15th tee but he eagled the par five and then produced another eagle two holes later when he holed out on the 17th.

A bogey on the last took some of the shine off his 67 but Varner was happy to be right at the business end of the tournament.

"I need to play some good golf tomorrow, for sure," he said.

"I'd take a play-off because it means I have a chance. I have to play 18 holes to get there. I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

He added: "I finished amazingly well. Eagles are always good and I had two in the last four. I got a little lucky on the 17th because it hit the pin and went in when it could have just as easily bounced off the green.

I'd take a play-off because it means I have a chance. I have to play 18 holes to get there. I'm looking forward to the opportunity - Harold Varner III

"But it was tough out there, when the wind blows hard here you just need to try to hang in there and not make too many mistakes."

Australia's Ashley Hall will also head into the final round two shots behind the leader after carding two eagles of his own but he had a bogey-bogey finish after being in a share for the lead on the 16th tee.

"Obviously the last two holes were disappointing but it could’ve been worse," he said.

"The two eagles were obviously very nice, I actually didn’t hit that good a shot on the ninth but made a really long putt. The eagle on the 15th was a little more conventional, I hit a really nice approach and rolled in the putt.

"You never know what happens. You can screw up any holes out there. It's never over until the last putt is in so we'll see what happens."

Adam Scott - the 2013 champion - was seriously challenging the leader when he turned in 32 but he put shots in the water on the tenth and 13th to stall his momentum.

The World Number Seven will now have to overturn a four-shot deficit to lift the trophy a second time, but he believes he can go low on Sunday.

"I’m going to have to shoot a low score but there’s a low one out there, that’s for sure," he said.

“I hit two in the water on the back nine, so there’s no escaping that. After such a good front nine I kind of stalled my way in, but I’m still in there.

"If I can get off to a fast start and have a front nine as good as today’s, then I’ll be right in the tournament."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1VARNER III, HaroldUSA18-19
2DODT, AndrewAUS18-17
3SCOTT, AdamAUS18-15
4HALL, AshleyAUS18-14
5RUMFORD, BrettAUS18-10
T6VAN DRIEL, DariusNED18-8

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