Date: December 13, 2008
Author: Steve Orme at Royal Sydney, Sportal

Smail snatches lead

New Zealand&aposs David Smail will take a one-shot lead into the final round of an intriguing Australian Open after posting a two-under-par round of 70 in treacherous conditions at Royal Sydney on Saturday. The no-frills Kiwi sits a shot clear of New South Welshman Andre Stolz who scorched around the testing layout on the way to a six-under-par 66 to finish day three at 10 under the card. Stolz was on course-record pace through fifteen holes having taken the lead on the back of eight birdies before blemishes at the 15th and 16th saw him settle for outright second heading into day four. Ewan Porter survived the ever-increasing winds to sign for a level-par 72 and sits in a share of third place alongside second-round leader Stephen Dartnall who battled to a three-over 75 to also trail by three shots. Steven Bowditch was the other big mover on the day carding a superb 66 that was only soured by three late bogeys. Bowditch is joined at minus seven by Robert Allenby, whose 71 included an eagle at the par-five 13th, Rohan Blizard, who carded a 70, and Victorian Chris Gaunt whose bogey on the last completed a third-round 75. Mathew Goggin, who also struggled to a three-over 75, is in a four-way tie four ninth alongside Andrew Bonhomme (69), Jason Norris (73) and Tim Wood who signed for a 66. Australian Masters champion Rod Pampling has the job ahead of him at minus four in a share of 17th with South African Tim Clark and boom Kiwi amateur Danny Lee who both fired 69s on Saturday. American veteran Paul Goydos is also at four under overall after signing for a respectable 70 while pre-tournament favourite Geoff Ogilvy is a further stroke back after also settling for two-under on the day. The former US Open Champion had looked set to threaten the leaders turning in 32 before a costly double bogey at the par-five 2nd halted his charge. Richard Green (71) and John Senden (73) are among a cluster of players a further stroke back at minus two, while Peter Lonard failed to muster a single birdie in his round of 77 to sit well off the pace at plus five. Earlier, Gaunt and Norris completed equal-course-record 65s after resuming their rain-interrupted second rounds in the early hours of Saturday morning, while Englishman Simon Griffiths made an early bid for shot-of-the-day honours landing a spectacular ace at the par-three 17th on his way to a second-round 68. The cut line fell at level par leaving 63 players to contest the final two rounds. 2007 runner-up Won Joon Lee was among 19 golfers who missed the weekend action by a single stroke while defending champion Craig Parry&aposs defence ended prematurely following consecutive 73s. 2001 champion Stuart Appleby, veteran Peter Senior and US PGA Tour regular Nathan Green also missed the cut by two shots while Northern Irishman Darren Clarke at plus five and American John Daly at plus six were also left without work on the weekend.