Three tied at top as Moonah Classic enters final round

Kiwi Michael Hendry and Sydney’s Justin Warren have joined overnight leader John Lyras at the top of the Moonah Links PGA Classic leaderboard after making a charge during the third round on Thursday morning.

Players had just a half-hour break before heading back out onto the Moonah Links Open Course for the final round on Thursday afternoon as ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia officials seek to finish the tournament ahead of any potential border closures.

A strengthening wind that threatens to make the final round a battle for survival kept the scoring in the third round in check but it couldn’t stop Hendry – the 2017 NZ Open champion – from making significant headway up the leaderboard.

Starting the third round four shots adrift of Lyras, Hendry made an early move to apply some intense scoreboard pressure.

A birdie at the 339-metre opening hole was followed by an eagle three at the par-5 second to bring the 41-year-old to within a shot of the lead.

A dropped shot at the par-4 third was countered by a birdie at the par-5 fourth and he picked up another shot at the par-5 eighth to make the turn at 11-under and within a shot of Lyras.

A birdie at the 202m par-3 12th was offset immediately with a bogey at the next but consecutive birdies to close out his round of 6-under 66 delivered the best round of the morning and a position at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final round.

With 36 holes to be completed today players will remain in the same groups that they played this morning, Hendry in the unique position of playing in the fifth-to-last group alongside Bryden Macpherson and with the opportunity to post a score for the following pack to chase.

Like Hendry, Warren’s round gathered momentum late, making the turn in 2-under before picking up three birdies in his final five holes in a round of 5-under 67 that also lifted him to 13-under.

Starting the third round with a three-shot buffer, Lyras looked like extending the margin when he picked up shots at both the second and third holes but played the final 15 holes in even par to post 2-under 70 and stay on track to complete a wire-to-wire win.

In his second start since leaving quarantine Wollongong’s Travis Smyth is the closest challenger to the three leaders sitting two shots back, making three birdies in his final four holes and picking up another on the first hole of his final round to draw within one.

Bryden Macpherson continued his excellent run of form with a 4-under 68 to move to 10-under while proven performers Dimi Papadatos and Andrew Dodt have both picked up two shots early in Round 4 to reach 11-under and be just two shots off the lead.  

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