Australian Open Recap: Senden Surges to the Top
By Conor Nagle under General

Easy does it.

A poor start from the high-profile overnight leader ceded centre stage to a trio of Aussies on day three of the Emirates Australian Open.

Framed as the first significant test of Tiger Woods’ uncertain competitive instincts, today’s race to the 54-hole mark was always going to be dominated by the performance of the former World Number One.

Perversely, then, the narrative was set in stone as early as the third hole, when the last in an opening hat-trick of bogeys extinguished what remained of the troubled star’s fragile momentum.

While Woods was busy meandering his way to a lacklustre 75 and a three-round aggregate total of six-under-par, a pack of home challengers were powering their way to the summit of the leaderboard.

Chief among them was smooth-swinging John Senden; the Queenslander vaulted himself into sole possession of the overnight lead by virtue of a card that included a stellar seven birdies and an eagle.

At 12-under-par, the 2006 champion sits a shot clear of compatriot Jason Day, who made good of his consistency and tactical nous to carding a third consecutive round in the 60s.

The world number seven also played what will likely be remembered as the shot of the day: a stunning driver off the deck to the par-five eighth.

Veteran left-hander Greg Chalmers, a shot adrift of Day, rounds out podium places.

Presidents Cup hopeful Nick Watney, Nick O’Hern, first-round leader Jarrod Lyle and Ryan Haller, who fired a bogey-free 65, are all within five shots of Senden’s lead heading into the final round.

Conor Nagle