FRESH from his South African victory, three time champion Robert Allenby leads the Australian PGA Championship by a stroke from fellow Aussies Greg Chalmers and Scott Strange after 54 holes.
The final round on Sunday is shaping as a beauty with an ominously looming Geoff Ogilvy, Australian Open winner Adam Scott and young gun Michael Sim just two shots further back.
Still feeling the pinch from his long flight back from winning the Nedbank Challenge, Allenby cashed in on ideal conditions with little wind and overnight rain that softened the greens by signing for a five-under 66 that leaves him on minus nine overall.
With the possibility of thunderstorms on Saturday night, Allenby is unlikely to have it all his own way on the final day with Chalmers (67) and Strange (68) breathing down his neck and Ogilvy (70), Scott (68) and Sim (65) also within striking distance.
Victorian Marc Leishman (66) and 2006 Australian Open champion John Senden (67) also threaten just three shots adrift on six under and Victorians Cameron Percy (67) and Matt Griffin (73) round out the top 10 on minus five.
Having only made the decision to contest the event two weeks ago, Allenby’s choice is close to paying huge dividends after he assumed top spot on the leaderboard. But the 38-year-old also later lamented some missed opportunities.
“I think every day could have been better, even today,” Allenby said.
“Today was a good day and a good result at the end of today, making a couple of birdies on the last couple of holes was nice.”
“I played solid all day … (but) the greens were a bit sticky today, bit grainy, it was probably all of the rain that we had early this morning and definitely slowed up the greens.”
The $AUD1.5 million Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola is the final event on the 2009 Australasian and OneAsia Tours and will determine the Norman Von Nida Order of Merit Media winner and the inaugural OneAsia Order of Merit Champion.
Our (Saturday Evening) Tip: Geoff Ogilvy to storm home.