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Saturday, 01 December 2018
Cameron Smith  (Getty Images)
Cameron Smith (Getty Images)

Defending champion Cameron Smith turned in 34 to open up a two-shot lead on day three of the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort.

The home favourite was looking to become the first player to win the title in back-to-back years since Robert Allenby in 2001 and two birdies on the front nine moved him to 11 under.

World Number 21 Marc Leishman was his nearest challenger, with 2017 champion Harold Varner III and Australians Jake McLeod and Christopher Wood at eight under.

McLeod has been in stunning form of late and could win the Order of Merit on the PGA Tour of Australasia this week - earning a European Tour card in the process.

Wood made an opening birdie to get within one of the lead but McLeod broke out of that group with an approach to tap-in range on the first and he moved into a share of top spot.

Smith parred his first hole and then made an excellent up-and-down from the sand at the second to stay at nine under.

Wood bogeyed the fourth to drop to seven under alongside Matthew Millar, who was bogey-free as he set the clubhouse target with birdies on the sixth, eighth, tenth, 12th and last.

Smith hit a stunning tee-shot into six feet for a birdie on the fifth and when McLeod hit a poor tee-shot on the seventh and had to play out sideways, the lead was up to two.

Varner started his round with six pars and bogeyed the seventh but back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth got him into the group three off the lead.

Wood also took advantage of the par-five ninth to move to eight under and Varner joined him there with an excellent approach to the tenth for three birdies in a row.

Leishman then broke out of the group at eight under as he drove up to the side of the eighth green and chipped to three feet.

A poor tee-shot on the ninth meant he could not capitalise on the par five but Smith did after a beautiful lag putt and the lead was two shots.

Dimitrios Papadatos turned in level par to sit at seven under, a shot clear of Andrew Johnston, Braden Becker and Allenby.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1SMITH, CameronAUS18-16
2LEISHMAN, MarcAUS18-14
T3McGOWAN, RossENG18-11
T3MILLAR, MatthewAUS18-11
5EOM, JaewoongKOR18-7
T6SCRIVENER, JasonAUS18-6

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