Ogilvy takes lead in Australia after superb third round

Local favourite Geoff Ogilvy produced a brilliant eight-under-par third round of 63 to replace Ian Poulter at the top of the JBWere Australian Masters leaderboard.

Local favourite Geoff Ogilvy produced a brilliant eight-under-par third round of 63 to replace Ian Poulter at the top of the JBWere Australian Masters leaderboard.

Ogilvy’s round, which included nine birdies and an eagle, left the Australian on 13 under for the tournament and boasting a two-shot lead over England’s Poulter heading into the final day at Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne.

Poulter, who held a two-stroke advantage heading into the weekend, struggled for rhythm in his round of 69.

In third place at nine-under are Australian duo Nathan Green (67) and Ashley Hall (68), two shots clear of a group of five including Greg Chalmers (67) whose bid for the Triple Crown of Australian Open, PGA and Masters wins in the one season remains very much alive.

World number one Luke Donald returned a 69 to sit five under, eight shots off the pace, while Robert Allenby fired a 67 to move to three-under.

Ogilvy, whose round of 63 matched John Wade’s course record that has stood for the past eight years, said: “I think I left a few shots out there weirdly enough, but I think I stole a couple as well, so it all balances out.”

Four shots adrift of Poulter at the start of the day, it took Ogilvy just three holes to erase the deficit.

An eagle at the short 233-metre par-four first, set up by a superb tee shot that settled four feet from the hole, got him going.

He followed up with a long-iron approach to a metre for birdie at two before draining a monster 15m birdie putt at the next.

Decked out in white to promote awareness and research into ovarian cancer, Poulter did his best to respond as he started with back-to-back birdies.

But the local player came again and Poulter, despite his best efforts, simply could not keep pace.

Stung by a bogey at the 398m par-four fifth, Ogilvy proceeded to put some distance between himself and the field by reeling off birdies at four of the next five holes.

Out in 29 and with the comparatively friendlier back nine to come, the 34-year-old was entitled to start thinking about a new course record.

That prospect looked increasingly possible when he nonchalantly pitched in from 40 metres for birdie at the 400m par-four 12th to move to eight under for his round and 13 under overall, while also extending his lead on the field to four shots.

Ogilvy’s dream run ended with a bogey at the 392m par-four 13th, the hardest hole on the course, but a birdie at the last made for a very satisfying afternoon’s work.

“To start eagle, birdie, birdie you’re usually going to have a pretty good day after you do that,” said Ogilvy, who grew up around the corner and played all of his junior and amateur golf on the course.

“Playing a thousand rounds on this course I’ve probably only made three or four twos on the first, or maybe five, but not many, so to start a round like that was pretty good.

“After that every time I had a wedge in my hands on the fairway I hit it pretty close. All in all ... I’m pretty happy.”

Poulter said he was confounded by the breeze from the north-east which was a 180 degree turnaround from Thursday and Friday.

“Hats off to Geoff for going out and scoring eight-under-par in that wind today, it’s a great score,” said Poulter.

“When someone posts a course record on you on Saturday then generally they move forward. Geoff’s done that and I’ll be chasing him down tomorrow.”

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