Jordan almost perfect at PGA

Jordan Zunic
Jordan Zunic during day three of the 2017 Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines Resort.

Jordan Zunic has fired a course record equalling 8-under 64 to hold the outright lead at the Australian PGA Championship with one round to go.

He is the solo leader of the tournament for the first time this week at 17-under the card.

Zunic started his third round with a bang draining a lengthy birdie putt on the 1st, he then went on to birdie 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15 and 16 to sit at 11-under par with two holes to go.

He looked likely to finish with an elusive sub-60 score before recording a bogey on 16 and a double on 18, the 2015 New Zealand Open champion is still delighted with his brilliant 64.

“I just think of 16 good holes, that's all I see in my mind and that's all I'm sure we'll talk about tonight because I played unbelievable golf for 16 holes,” said Zunic.

“If you had told me that I was going to have 64 at the start of today, I would have taken it, that's for sure.  It was a shame what happened on the last two holes, but to be honest, I didn't even do much wrong.

“I still stuck to my processes on the last two holes, I just got a little bit unlucky on 17, I just pulled my 2 iron a little left.

“And then on the last hole, my drive was pretty good, just slightly right of where I was trying to hit it and unfortunately caught that bunker as well. In my mind I don't really feel like I did much wrong even though I did drop a few on the last two holes.”

Zunic, who also held the round one lead, has cited fellow Professional and former Australian PGA champion Nick O’Hern’s book ‘Tour Mentality: Inside the Mind of a Tour Pro’ as the catalyst for a turnaround in his mental game.

“I actually had a chat with Nick this morning before I teed off. He agreed to meet me this morning, just had a bit of a chat, nothing too serious,” added Zunic.

“I just told him how I was feeling and what I did yesterday and how I've been doing things really well.  He just reassured me that what I was doing was good. So yeah, it was just nice to sit down and talk to him.  It just helped me probably calm the nerves a little bit before I teed off today.”

His mental game came in to play as he made the turn at 7-under, he said it was difficult to keep his mind on the job as thoughts of a sub-60 round began to manifest.

“It is tough, but to be honest with you, I found I didn't have much problem with that today.  There might have been one time when I had to think and I went, I'm doing pretty good today, that might be a possibility,” added Zunic.

“But I was in a good mindset so I quickly got out of that and I just quickly got back to the moment I was in and that's what allowed me in the middle of the round there to continue to make more birdies obviously after I turned after the front nine.

“So it is tough, but if you make yourself focus on what you know you should focus on, you shouldn't have any problem just staying in the moment and hitting each shot as it comes.”

Queenslander Cameron Smith had a front seat to the action on course playing in Zunic’s group today and had a great round of his own firing 5-under 67 to be in second position at 14-under the card, three shots behind Zunic.

“He put on a bit of a display the first 13 or 14 holes there.  He was on a bit of a run, it was pretty incredible to watch actually,” said Smith.

“And in that wind he was just a magician on the greens as well.  I think he would have had 15 putts through 14 holes, it was amazing.”

Smith said he had to stick to his game plan but at the same time, not let Zunic streak away to an unassailable lead.

“I just didn't let Jordan's round get ahead of me there, I just kept doing what I was doing. I knew I was playing well, I knew I was putting well. Just needed a couple chances and took advantage of them.”

South Australian Adam Bland had 1-under 70 round to be a further shot back in third at 13-under the card.

Victorian David Bransdon had his best round of the tournament carding a 6-under 66 to be in a tie for fourth position alongside fellow Victorian Marc Leishman at 10-under the card.

Leishman had a round to forget finishing 2-over par, he struggled to get anything going with his putter but remains positive heading in to tomorrow’s final round.

“It was a tough day, I actually played quite well early and just couldn't make any putts unfortunately,” said Leishman.

“I bogeyed 12, doubled 13.  Frustration got the best of me on the 13th tee there. I got one birdie coming in, a couple good par saves.

“So it’s disappointing, but I think I'm, what, seven or eight back going into tomorrow. I need to go out and attack and try and shoot as low as I can.”

Two-time Australian PGA champion Greg Chalmers is in sixth position at 9-under the card while Sergio Garcia admitted again fatigue played a factor in what he said was a disappointing round of 2-under 70, the Spaniard is in seventh spot, 8-under the card.

“I am proud of myself because I feel like I'm going on fumes, so for that obviously my head is not as sharp as it should be and I'm making stupid mistakes here and there.  But other than that, I feel like I fought hard again today,” said Garcia.

“I'm going to go out there and fight. Obviously, hopefully I'll be able to play nicely, but it's the last day of school and I'm excited to finish the year, which has been a great year, and hopefully we can have a good round and have a solid finish here.”

“I'm going to go out there and fight.  Obviously, hopefully I'll be able to play nicely, but it's the last day of school and I'm excited to finish the year, which has been a great year, and hopefully we can have a good round and have a solid finish here.”

Victorian pair Lucas Herbert and Jack Wilson round out the top-10 at 7-under the card.

Australian PGA Championship to tee off three hours earlier for final day

Due to inclement weather warnings for the afternoon from UBIMET, the tournament’s provider of meteorological forecast systems, the tee times and broadcast times for the final day of the Australian PGA Championship will be brought forward by approximately three hours.

First groups will tee off at 6.00 am in a two tee start, and the last groups will begin at 8.00 am.

Broadcast times for Australian audiences are as follows:

Sydney, Melbourne

7TWO     0900-1000 Australian PGA Championship
7             1000-1400 Australian PGA Championship

Adelaide

7TWO     0830-1000 Australian PGA Championship
7             1000-1330 Australian PGA Championship

Brisbane

7TWO     0800-1000 Australian PGA Championship
7             1000-1300 Australian PGA Championship               

Perth

7TWO    0600-1000 Australian PGA Championship
7             1000-1100 Australian PGA Championship

The leading group of Jordan Zunic, Cameron Smith and Adam Bland tee off from the first tee at 8:00am.

Queensland Golf