Jordan Zunic carded a stunning 64 on day three at the Australian PGA Championship to equal the course record and take a three-shot lead into the final round at RACV Royal Pines Resort.
The Australian, who has a top ten finish at this event in 2016, began 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 and a double bogey on the last ultimately put a halt on those hopes, however, the 25 year old still moved into a commanding lead at 17 under on the Gold Coast. His playing partner and fellow countryman Cameron Smith produced a second consecutive 67 to lead a chasing pack dominated by home players, with Adam Bland a further shot back, with World Number 13 Marc Leishman and David Bransdon at ten under.
Australian Greg Chalmers – a two-time winner of this event – sits at nine under with Masters Champion Sergio Garcia leading the European Tour challenge a shot behind. The Spaniard made four birdies in his first 14 holes, however bogeys on the 16th and 18th to finish the day kept the 37 year old to eight under par.
Due to inclement weather warnings, the tee times and broadcast times for the final day of the Australian PGA Championship will be brought forward by approximately three hours, with first groups teeing off at 6.00am in a two tee start, and the last groups beginning at 8.00am local time.
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. Obviously 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 was surprising myself, I’ll be honest. Every time I looked at a shot, I just felt comfortable over it. I looked where I wanted to hit it and the ball was going there and that happens sometimes when you play. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it’s good fun.
“To be able to consolidate on the greens as well, I putted really well. I’ve always been a good putter and that’s what I’ve always said to my friends and my family is when I strike the ball well, I know that I’m going to be in contention in golf tournaments because I know my short game’s really good, and I managed to do that over the last three days.
“I mean, I haven’t been thinking about that too much (European Tour card) because I don’t like to get too far ahead of myself, but obviously we all know that that’s there and that’s obviously a great opportunity. But in order for me to grab that, I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing and stay in the present moment. We’ve still got 18 holes of golf left tomorrow, which is a lot of golf. So if I can go out there and do what I did today and just stay in a great mindset, I feel like I’ll give myself every opportunity to take that.”
Cameron Smith: “He put on a bit of a display the first 13 or 14 holes there. He was on a bit of a run, it was pretty incredible to watch actually and in that wind he was just a magician on the greens as well.
“Just didn’t let Jordan’s round get ahead of me there. I just kept doing what I was doing. I knew I was playing well, I knew I was putting well. Just needed a couple chances and took advantage of them. You know, it’s been really good, something I’ve worked on this year really hard. It’s always been one of my strengths and I just want to make it stronger as I go on.
Sergio Garcia: “I am proud of myself because I feel like I’m going on fumes, so for that obviously my head is not as sharp as it should be and I’m making stupid mistakes here and there. But other than that, I feel like I fought hard again today and it’s a shame about the finish because, you know, I finished two under. Obviously not to win because the guys are going crazy up top, but to have a really good finish, it would have been nice. Unfortunately, a couple bogeys there at the end but like I said, the way I’m feeling, as tired as I am, I’m still proud of the way I fought.
“I’m going to go out there and fight. Hopefully I’ll be able to play nicely but it’s the last day of school and I’m excited to finish the year, which has been a great year, and hopefully we can have a good round and have a solid finish here.”
Marc Leishman: “It was a tough day. Actually played quite well early and just couldn’t make any putts unfortunately. Bogeyed 12, doubled 13. Frustration got the best of me on the 13th tee there. Got one birdie coming in, a couple good par saves. So disappointing but I think I’m, what, seven or eight back going into tomorrow. Need to go out and attack and try and shoot as low as I can.
“I’m hitting it good enough, I’ve just got to make the putts. I had a few tough putts today from a few grain changes and all that. You know, I just didn’t hit it in the right spot. Certainly making the putts is very important, so hopefully I can do that. I’m probably a little far back to contend but stranger things have happened.”