Martin holds narrow NZPGA lead (video)

BY PGA of Australia | Australasian PGA Tour | 2012 New Zealand PGA Pro-Am Championship | Day Three | 01 Apr 2012

Victorian Andrew Martin is still the man to catch after the third round of the PGA Tour of Australasia’s NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship in Queenstown.

However, the 27-year-old’s lead has been slashed dramatically, with three players within four shots of the lead.

Martin started the day with a five shot buffer, but it was gradually whittled away and by the 16th hole he found himself in a three way tie for the lead at 13 under par with fellow Australian Brody Ninyette and New Zealand’s Michael Hendry.

“On 15 I just blocked my drive into the bunker and had a bit of fun over there,” said Martin referring to the double bogey that had the potential to bring the event undone.

“Then making par on the 16th I was happy, it wasn’t the easiest pin to come to after making double.

Martin would not be denied the lead picking up a late birdie to finish the day at 14-under-par, one shot clear of Ninyette.

“I birdied 17 and gave myself a chance on 18 so overall I was pretty happy with the day, nothing really went for me and I am still leading by one,” adding that his foot injury is on the mend.

“Today was the best its felt all week, the pain from the blister on the back is gone so it’s just the ball of the foot now, I had to take my shoe off a couple of times to stretch it out but it felt good today.”

Hendry is in outright third at 12 under the card, after dropping a shot at the 17th, the only blemish in his round.

The 32-year-old says the course was ripe for the picking in the benign conditions.

“It was really calm out there this afternoon which obviously made it friendly if you were hitting good shots.

“Thankfully I hit all good shots bar one and that led to a bogey on 17 but I can’t complain – I’m in position to have a chance tomorrow.”

Fellow Kiwi Ryan Fox also had a good day, rocketing up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth with a superb eight under par 64. Fox got off to a slow start, but an eagle at the par four fourth ignited his round and he followed it with four successive birdies.

With two holes to play, the course record of 10 under par was within his reach but he couldn’t quite equal the benchmark set by Australian Peter Fowler in 2007 and matched by South Korean Jin Jeong in round two yesterday.

First round leader Mark Brown is still in contention in outright fourth at 10 under par while joining Fox in a tied fifth at nine under the card is Jin Jeong.

In the team’s event the combination of former British Amateur Champion Jin Jeong and the world number one female amateur golfer, Lydia Ko, proved to be a formidable one.

The pair finished the first round at 11 under par, one shot clear of the field.

Ko scored seven birdies for the team with Jeong grabbing the other four. The 14-year-old Kiwi says she played well and it was a fantastic experience playing in the same group as Hollywood actor and director Don Cheadle.

“He was very kind and generous. It was good fun and we had a few jokes out there.”

“I played good. I had seven birdies and one bogey – better than my practice round. I enjoyed picking up on the greens and not putting out.”

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