By Luke Buttigieg, Sportal Nathan Green is on the verge of an all-the-way win in the MFS Australian Open at Royal Sydney but his back nine stumbles on day three have kept the title wide open heading into the final round. Green was four clear and seemingly on track for a comprehensive win before he dropped four shots in three holes to slip back into a share of the lead with Brett Rumford and Gavin Coles. The Novocastrian did steady the ship in the final three holes with a birdie and a couple of pars to preserve his lead, and the jolt that came with the mini-slump will no doubt have reminded him of just how much he must concentrate if he is to win the Stonehaven Cup. The solid play of the first 48 holes will give Green enough confidence to know that if he can reproduce that form on Sunday he will go a long way to winning, but there are plenty of players close to his lead who know exactly what it takes to win, including some Australian Open champions. Rumford and Coles have both won on the Australasian Tour and overseas in their careers, while world No.4 Adam Scott is only two back and wouldn&apost appear to have been anywhere near his best form so far this week. If he can turn it on for the final day he may run away with the tournament. Within three shots are US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who has had a breakthrough year in 2006 and will be expected to also make a charge on the final day, along with 2001 Australian Open champ Stuart Appleby and 2005 MasterCard Masters winner Richard Green. Queenslander John Senden shot the round of the day, his 67 matching Green&aposs score on Thursday as round of the tournament so far, and he is another fresh from his best year in the United States, having claimed his first trophy there. Even with the card and just five back from the lead are 1999 and 2000 champion Baddeley, who obviously knows what it takes to win at the venue, as well as dual champion Peter Lonard, another who is yet to hit top form this week, and Peter O&aposMalley and Nick O&aposHern, two of the most consistent Australian golfers of the past few years. The final day could also provide local golf fans with the final chance to see Greg Norman in action, a day after he thrilled the fans with a superb 68, so there will be plenty of reasons for fans to either get to Royal Sydney on the final day or follow the action either on television or via the web at www.AustralianOpengolf.com.
Author: Luke Buttigieg