Home hero Cameron Smith carded a two-under-par 69 to take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Australian PGA Championship on Saturday, inching closer to a third title at the A$2 million ($1.35 million) event.
British Open champion Smith got off to a strong start with four of his six birdies coming in his first six holes, but the world number three struggled on the back nine in windy conditions.
The 29-year-old, who won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, moved up to an 11-under total of 202 at the event, which is co-sanctioned by Europe’s DP World Tour.
“It was a bit frustrating on that back nine, but in these conditions I would have taken two under,” Smith said.
“I’d like to be six or seven ahead, to be honest, but it’s a good spot to be in.
“I can’t complain. Everything’s feeling really good, so feeling really confident and really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Smith will also be competing at next week’s Australian Open in Melbourne.
“My big thing down here was to have a really big crack at the Aussie Open. I haven’t won one of those yet and I think that would be a really good end to a really good year,” Smith said.
Overnight leader Jason Scrivener had a day to forget after he failed to recover from a poor start at the Royal Queensland course.
Three bogeys on the front nine were followed by bogeys on the 14th and 16th for the Australian, who partially recovered with two successful birdie putts in his last two holes.
China’s Liu Yanwei shot a 70 to move up to joint second on eight-under with Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura, three strokes off the lead.
Australia’s two-times winner Adam Scott struggled to a three-over 74 to sit tied for 39th.
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