Saturday, 02 December 2017
Day Three Highlights - Australian PGA Championship

Jordan Zunic carded a brilliant 64 on day three at the Australian PGA Championship to take a three-shot lead into the final round at RACV Royal Pines Resort.

The Australian entered the day three shots off the lead but turned in 29 and when he made four birdies in a row from the 13th, the first 59 in European Tour history looked a very real possibility.

A bogey on the 17th put paid to those hopes and despite making a double on the last, Zunic still equalled the course record and moved to 17 under on the Gold Coast.

Playing partner Cameron Smith carded a 67 to lead a chasing pack dominated by home players, with Adam Bland a further shot back and David Bransdon and Marc Leishman at ten under.

Greg Chalmers - a two-time winner of this event - was then at nine under with Masters Tournament champion Sergio Garcia leading the European Tour challenge a shot behind.

Zunic recorded his best European Tour finish here with a tie for ninth in the 2016 campaign but tallied just one top ten in eight events on the Challenge Tour last season.

Girlfriend Olivia Marlow is on the bag for Zunic and has played a big part in his renaissance this week with a little help from former Tour player Nick O'Hern.

Marlow gave Zunic a copy of O'Hern's book and then contacted the 46 year old, with the result being the pair playing a practice round on Tuesday.

Zunic has credited that experience with helping him with the mental side of his game, and it appeared to be paying serious dividends on Saturday.

“I actually had a chat with Nick this morning before I teed off," said Zunic. "He agreed to meet me this morning, just had a bit of a chat, nothing too serious. It just helped me probably calm the nerves a little bit before I teed off today.

The way I played all day, it was just really what I know I'm capable of doing - Jordan Zunic

"It was a bit of a flash that round. I don't even really know, I can't remember it almost because I was just going with the flow. I just did such a great job today of what I've been working on in regards to my mindset.

"I'm just really happy with today. The way I played all day, it was just really what I know I'm capable of doing so, to actually go out and do that when it's in tournament mode and on a Saturday afternoon is awesome.

"I haven't been thinking about that (European Tour card) too much because I don't like to get too far ahead of myself. We all know that that's there and that's obviously a great opportunity.

"In order for me to grab that I just need to keep doing what I've been doing and stay in the present moment."

He holed a long putt on the first, almost made a hole-in-one at the second and then took advantage of the par five third for the second day in a row to move into a share of the lead.

Bland got up and down in style from a fairway bunker on the fourth to jump out of the leading pack but Zunic was relentless.

He birdied the sixth and seventh to hit the front on his own and when he played an approach to three feet on the eighth, he had a two-shot lead.

Bland dropped a shot on the same hole and a seventh birdie of the day from Zunic saw him turn in 29 and he led by four.

Bland birdied the 12th but Zunic hit back on the 13th and the pair also traded birdies on the 13th and 14th before Zunic pulled away.

The 25 year old made the most of the par five 15th and when he put his tee-shot to six feet on the next to make it four birdies in a row, the whispers of a 59 were beginning to ripple around the course.

I just need to keep doing what I've been doing and stay in the present moment - ​Zunic

That bogey on the 17th destroyed that dream before the double on the last left the door ajar for a Sunday showdown.

Bland dropped a shot on the 14th to sign for a 71, with Smith leapfrogging him courtesy of a back nine of 33 in a round containing seven birdies and two bogeys.

Bransdon made eight birdies and two bogeys in a 66, with World Number 13 Leishman signing for a 74.

Chalmers had a bogey-bogey finish in his 73, while Garcia also had a disappointing end to his 70, dropping shots on the 16th and last after birdieing the eighth, ninth, 12th and 14th.

Due to predicted electrical activity on Sunday, final round tee-times have been brought forward three hours, with the final group teeing off at 8.00am.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1SMITH, CameronAUS18-18
2ZUNIC, JordanAUS18-18
3BLAND, AdamAUS18-17
T4BRANSDON, DavidAUS18-14
T4LEISHMAN, MarcAUS18-14
6VARNER III, HaroldUSA18-12

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