Waikato professional Jim Cusdin saved his best for the third round shooting a six under par 64 to earn a one shot lead after three rounds of the Carrus Tauranga Open.

Cusdin, who opened with rounds of 65 and 70, will have his best chance of winning his first four round tournament when he takes a one shot lead into the final round from overnight leader Gareth Paddison and Ryan Fox.

In wet and windy conditions it was an impressive round from the big hitting Cusdin who has contended on the Charles Tour without ever breaking through.

He made the turn in one under but came home strong with five birdies, including three in a row, to take the ascendancy of the tournament from the penultimate group.
Cusdin is looking forward to the challenge of taking on a seasoned professional like Paddison in the final round.

“I have put myself in a good position now and I am looking forward to tomorrow – the same as today hopefully,” said the 26-year-old who has won a couple of titles in Fiji.

“I stayed patient and I hit my driver really well if you hit your driver well around here then you have a good chance to score because it is a short course. I played the back nine in five under. I
am very happy with that – I didn’t realise I was – it was all a bit of a blur but it was pretty pleasing to get to six under.

“I have won a couple of one day and two events but it would be nice to get a four round event under my belt.”

Meantime Paddison, who led by three overnight, was disappointed by his one under par 69 as he hunts his second win on the Charles Tour. The experienced left hander was one under on the outward nine and then came home in even par to relinquish the lead.

“I am playing brilliantly but could not get the ball in the hole for my life today,” said the 31-year-old.

“I am disappointed to leave a few shots out there on moving day but there is always tomorrow and I am excited to see what I can do.

“Jim has had a cracker of a round today and it is exciting to see the likes of Jim and Ryan compete with us as well. It is nice to set an example and show them who is boss after 10 years of being a pro.”

Ryan Fox, who finished third in the 2010 event was also impressive in the third round with a four under par 66. Fox made five birdies and one bogey as he hunts a title he has come close to winning on many occasions.

“The goal for the week was to win and I am happy that I have got myself into contention. I am one shot back but anything can happen on this golf course. I am looking forward to the challenge tomorrow,” said the 24-year-old.

“I was more consistent today but the putter was hot and cold. I missed a three footer for birdie on the last so that was disappointing but I am looking forward to making up for that tomorrow.

I feel comfortable in the lead or around the lead and this is no different to the North Island Stroeplay or the NZ Amateur so I am confident in that if I get a chance I will take it.”

Rookie professional Pieter Zwart is three back from the lead in fourth place after a two under par 68.

While the 2009 champion Michael Hendry needs to go low tomorrow if he is going to go one better than his runner up finish last year. The three time winner on the Charles Tour had a one under par 69 that included three bogeys and four birdies to be tied seventh, five shots back from Cusdin.

In the women’s field professional Charlotte Thomas produced the round of the day with a five under 67 to get within three shots of overnight leader Emily Perry (70) from the LAochiel Golf Club.

Thomas, who is from Singapore and in New Zealand to play the Carrus Tauranga Open and Port of Taranaki Open, likes the Tauranga course and was inspired by the performance of the All Blacks.

“They were really good last night,” said Thomas. “I am really enjoying the Charles Tour as in Singapore I don’t get too many opportunities to play so I have to travel.”


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