Ashburton professional Daniel Pearce is on the cusp of his first win on the Charles Tour.


The 26-year-old carded a five-under par 67 in the third round of the $40,000 John Jones Steel Harewood Open today to earn a four shot lead over New Plymouth professional Dominic Barson (70) with South Island Stroke Play Champion Ryan Chisnall (68) one shot further back.


Pearce, a perennial contender on the local series, is hunting his first four round win as a professional on home soil.

He set the tone early in the third round when he birdied his opening three holes. He finished strong with two birdies in his final four holes to be the player to beat on Labour Day Monday.

The conditions at Harewood were benign to begin with but as the wind got up Pearce showed his ball striking prowess and edged ahead.

“I hit a lot of solid shots in the wind,” he said. “I made a good birdie on 7 and only dropped one shot when it was really strong, I kept it in play, so I was pleased with that stretch.”

Pearce said that the Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson designed layout is playing tough this week. He admitted that the challenge of being the leader is a new one.

“I haven’t been in this situation a lot on the Charles Tour so I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Even with a four shot lead, Pearce would not change anything heading into the final round.

“Around this course you have to hit your driver well. I am pretty happy with the game plan I have set out for the course and it is working so far so I will stick to it. Hopefully it will be good enough.”

Pearce said he was feeling good about his game and had renewed belief that he could win after securing the title at the Vanuatu Open.

Also fancying his chances was Barson who is also in contention for his first win on the Charles Tour.

The runner-up from the LawnMaster Classic at the start of the year is looking forward to making a run in the final round.

“Anything can happen tomorrow,” he said. “I am going to play as well as I can and hopefully put some pressure on him.”

Barson, a tall and solidly built professional, is pleased with how he is playing this week on the Charles Tour.

“I am hitting the ball pretty well and I am managing to get up and down from all over the course which always helps. The course is really good and fair. I enjoy this test.”

Tasman golfer Chisnall, the leading amateur at the Carrus Open in Tauranga, is looking to win and also claim back to back leading amateur honours on the local series.

Manawatu-Wanganui amateur Lachie McDonald, who shot a six-under par 66 in round two to claim the lead, faded to a share of fifth today after a three-over par 75.

Auckland professional Fraser Wilkin, the course record holder from yesterday with an eight-under par 64, failed to capture that magic again as he signed for a four-over par 76.



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