Adam Scott will go into the final round of the Australian PGA Championship holding a three-shot lead despite his first wobbles of the tournament on the Gold Coast.
The Masters champion dropped his first shots of the tournament on the front nine of Saturday’s third round but recovered to shoot an even-par 71 to be 10-under at Royal Pines.
Scott, who hadn’t bogied in his first two rounds, came unstuck with bogies on the par-four seventh and eighth to allow rivals Rickie Fowler and David McKenzie to overhaul his two-shot overnight lead.
But the world No.2 showed his class on the back nine as Fowler and McKenzie faltered, making birdie on the par-five 12th and par-five 15th to pull clear.
Tricky crosswinds made it tough for any player to post strong scores, with Queenslander Michael Wright (68) the highlight of the afternoon with an eagle on the 15th.
“Without a doubt the wind is what protects this course,” Wright said.
“I’m fortunate I can keep it under the wind or hit through it, because I hit the ball quite low. That definitely is to my advantage around this golf course.”
Young American Fowler (71) sits in a tie for second on seven-under with Victoria’s McKenzie (72) after a mixed day on the lengthy resort course.
The 24-year-old made three birdies in his round but also tripped up with bogies on the ninth, 12th and 14th proving costly.
McKenzie, who at one stage briefly held the outright lead, drifted badly, his day summed up when he three-putted the par-three 16th to bogey the hole.
The 46-year-old journeyman ended his round with five bogies and four birdies.
Wright and Gold Coast-based Steven Jeffress (71) are a further shot back in a share of fourth while several players, including US PGA Tour player Marc Leishman (68), are hovering at five-under overall.
That group includes young Victorian Jack Wilson (69), with the PGA Trainee showing no signs of nerves going into the final day despite needing to pick up five shots on Scott.
“Intimidated? No way, I’m here to win this tournament,” Wilson said.