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4.30pm: Japanese tour veteran Brad Kennedy of Queensland has vaulted to the lead in the ISPS Vic Open as the leaders on both sides battle strong winds off the ocean at 13th Beach.
Meanwhile in the women’s event American leader Kim Kaufman slam-dunked a remarkable birdie from the front bunker at the short par-three seventh to regain control.
Seven men have had a hand on the lead in the men’s event but Kennedy has been rock solid, and when he hit a short iron in close at the par-four 10th and rolled in the putt from two metres, he had reached 14-under par to take the lead.
Kennedy, 44, from the Gold Coast, is a three-time winner in Japan as well as having won on the Australasian Tour.
Overnight leader Jason Scrivener, New South Welshman Matt Stieger and Englishman Matthew Shinkwin are in the group one shot back, Stieger (65) and Shinkwin (66) having carved their way around the course in the morning.
But in winds gusting around 60km/h there is still plenty of golf remaining.
Kaufman began the final round with the outright lead but was sharing the frontrunning honours with Japan’s Haru Nomura when they reached the par-three seventh, known locally as ‘the postage stamp’ after the famous par-three at Royal Troon in Scotland.
With the wind howling from the right, the American found the front trap but promptly holed out to roars from the crowd around the green. A 12-under she leads by a shot from Nomura through eight holes, with Australia’s Su Oh third at nine-under having birdied the eighth hole.
The top 35 players and ties in each section will go through to tomorrow’s final round at 13th Beach.
So far the cut-line for men is sitting at seven-under par, meaning that Geoff Ogilvy will get through to Sunday, while in the women’s the cut sits at even-par.
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3:00pm: Western Australia’s Jason Scrivener has taken the outright lead in the men’s event but Victorian Su Oh is struggling in tough conditions for the players in the ISPS Handa Vic Open at 13th Beach.
Strong winds and rain lashed the course several times today, making scoring tough, although there were sunny breaks in between the showers and several players went low.
Scrivener began with a share of the lead with Nick Flanagan, who immediately bogeyed the first from behind the green, before Mandurah’s Scrivener found trouble off the tee at the par-five second hole and made a bogey.
At that point, there were five leaders: Scrivener, Flanagan, Matt Stieger and Englishman Callum Shinkwin who had come from the clouds with great rounds of 65 and 66 respectively, and Brad Kennedy out on the course.
But Scrivener hit a nice iron shot to the par-three third and rolled in the birdie to regain the outright lead, then stretched it to a two-shot buffer when he pierced the wind with an iron shot to the green at the par-four fourth hole and rolled another birdie putt in.
Through four holes he led by two from Stieger, Shinkwin and Kennedy.
Victorian professional Zach Murray was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. It’s understood Murray signed for a triple bogey eight on the par-five second hole and a 75 overall but in fact had taken a higher score.
In the women’s event, American Kim Kaufman and Japan’s Haru Nomura share the lead through four holes, with Kaufman making a bogey at the third hole and Nomura rolling in a nice birdie at the fourth.
Australian Oh, just 22 and a contender at the Vic Open before, started badly with a bogey from right of the green at the first and another at the par-five second where her third shot ended right of the putting surface. But Oh is at eight-under, just four shots from the lead.
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11:45am: New South Wales professional Matt Stieger has made a run in the third round after the players battled dreadful morning conditions at the ISPS Handa Vic Open this morning.
A fierce band of rain accompanied by strong winds blew through the course just after 8am almost driving the players from the course and threatening to flood the greens, making life difficult for everyone at 13th Beach.
But the squall passed and Stieger prospered, making four birdies in five holes on the back nine and nailing another birdie on the par-five 18th hole for a 65. The 29-year-old is a former Australian amateur champion who has played in Asia and Australia, and reached a playoff at the Vic Open in 2014 before losing over three holes to Matt Griffin.
Stieger is 13-under overall and third, just a shot from the lead held by Western Australia’s Jason Scrivener and NSW pro Nick Flanagan at 14-under par. They are due to tee off at 1.30pm today.
In the women’s event, top-ranked Minjee Lee is continuing to struggle at three-over par today through 10 holes, tied-70th.
The big mover in the women’s field has been Korean Mirim Lee who has picked up five shots through 14 holes today to jump into the top 10.
Overnight leader Kim Kaufman of the United States tees off with Japan’s Haru Nomura and Australia’s Su Oh at 1.40 pm on the Beach course.
The Vic Open broadcast begins from 1pm (AEDT) on ABC, ABC iView and Fox Sports. View the TV guide here.
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8:40am: History has been made at the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open, with the first mixed group teeing off this morning.
Sydney's Dale Williamson and Ireland's Gavin Moynihan were joined by Belgian LPGA player Manon De Roey in a first for the tournament, thanks to a quirk in the draw and a joint decision from the tours.
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