Fresh from his maiden PGA Tour of Australasia win in the Moonah Links PGA Classic, Victorian Bryden Macpherson is well-placed to claim his second victory in as many months at the NSW Open.
The 30-year-old former British Amateur champion will take a one-shot lead into the final round at Concord on Sunday, seeking his fifth professional win.
Macpherson started the third round four shots adrift of overnight leader Michael Sim, but six birdies and two bogeys for a six-under 65 left him on top at 15 under par.
He has plenty of challengers however.
Playing just his third professional event, South Australian Jack Thompson shot a bogey-free 65 to be tied second with Sydney young gun Nathan Barbieri (66).
At 13 under is Gold Coast’s Dylan Perry after the 2018 British Amateur Championship runner-up also shot a flawless 65 to be solo fourth.
Former US PGA Tour player Sim had a frustrating day, rattling off 11 pars before a rollercoaster finish for a 72 to be one of four players tied fifth, three shots behind Macpherson, including rising teen star Elvis Smylie, who made an albatross in the day’s lowest score of 64.
“The course is getting better,” Macpherson said, referring to the torrential rains Sydney endured earlier in the week.
“We are starting to get the hang of the course, and the guys that are playing well are finding their way around it a little easier.”
Amateur Smylie, the son of tennis star Liz Smylie, provided the day’s highlight with only the ninth albatross in Australian PGA history – thanks to a perfectly struck five-iron shot from 208m on the par-five eighth.
The sweet-swinging lefthander followed up with an eagle on 11, four birdies, and four three-putts fin his 64.
It was the second albatross of 18-year-old Smylie’s young career, his first came at the ninth at Royal Perth Golf Club.
“I just hit an absolute cracking five-iron with a little draw and it was tracking all the way. One of my playing partners said it tracked like a putt,” said Smylie.
“It was kinda cool, my first in a tournament. What a time to do it.”
-15 Bryden Macpherson
-14 Jack Thompson, Nathan Barbieri
-13 Dylan Perry
-12 Elvis Smylie, Andrew Martin, Dale S Williamson, Michael Sim
-11 Blake Windred
-10 Jarrod Stirling, Anthony Choat, Travis Smyth, Tim Hart, Justin Warren