63 puts Ogilvy in front

Local hero Geoff Ogilvy took the lead after a magnificent eight-under-par 63 in the third round of the JBWere Australian Masters.

Local hero Geoff Ogilvy took the lead after a magnificent eight-under-par 63 in the third round of the JBWere Australian Masters.

His nine birdies and an eagle on Saturday saw him finish on 13 under par, which proved enough to surpass second-round leader Ian Poulter of England, who now trails by two heading into the final round at Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne after a third-round 69.

Australian duo Nathan Green (67) and Ashley Hall (68) are tied in third place a further two shots back and are themselves two shots clear of a group of five that includes Greg Chalmers, who is chasing a Triple Crown of Australian Open, PGA and Masters wins.

A 69 from World No 1 Luke Donald leaves him on five under, eight shots back, while Robert Allenby shot a 67 to lie on three under.

Ogilvy’s 63 matched John Wade’s eight-year-old course record.

“I think I left a few shots out there weirdly enough, but I think I stole a couple as well, so it all balances out,” he said.

He started quickly on Saturday, and by the third hole he had drawn level with Poulter.

He drove the par-four first green to set up a four-foot eagle chance, which he converted, and produced a superb iron shot at the second and a beautiful putt at the third two pick up two more shots.

Poulter responded with back-to-back birides of his own, but could not keep up with Ogilvy’s pace on the day.

A bogey at the fifth seemed only to galvanise the new leader, as he reeled off four birdies in the next five holes.

Out in 29, the course record was very much in his sights, a prospect that seemed only more of a reality when he pitched in for birdie from 40 feet at the par-four 12th to move to eight under for his round, 13 under for the tournament and four shots clear.

A bogey at the 13th finally ended the run, and he then had to wait till the 18th to erase the damage.

“To start eagle, birdie, birdie you’re usually going to have a pretty good day after you do that,” said Ogilvy, who grew up around the corner and is very familiar with the course.

“Playing a thousand rounds on this course I’ve probably only made three or four twos on the first, or maybe five, but not many, so to start a round like that was pretty good.

“After that every time I had a wedge in my hands on the fairway I hit it pretty close.

“All in all … I’m pretty happy.”

Poulter admitted he struggled to find his rhythm amid a confounding breeze on the day.

“Hats off to Geoff for going out and scoring eight-under-par in that wind today, it’s a great score,” he said.

“When someone posts a course record on you on Saturday then generally they move forward.”

“Geoff’s done that and I’ll be chasing him down tomorrow.”