Zunic flirts with 59 as Aussie outshines Garcia in Queensland

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Jordan Zunic

Queensland, December 2: Sergio Garcia took a back seat to Jordan Zunic, who sizzled on the penultimate day as he claimed a three-stroke lead at the Australian PGA Championship.

Masters champion Garcia could only watch in awe after Australian Zunic flirted with a 59, eventually finishing with an eight-under-par 64 on Saturday.

With 11 birdies in his first 16 holes, including seven from nine on the front nine and four in succession following the turn, Zunic was on target to smash the course record at Royal Pines in Queensland.

But 25-year-old Zunic went bogey-double bogey as he ended the day 17 under heading into Sunday's final round.

Countryman Cameron Smith is Zunic's nearest challenger at 14 under following his third-round 67, a shot better off than Adam Bland (71).

March Leishman – co-leader overnight alongside Bland – faded as he shot a two-over-par 74 to be 10 under and tied for fourth with David Bransdon (66), while Greg Chalmers (73) is a stroke further back.

Spanish drawcard Garcia has a mountain to climb if he is to hoist the trophy aloft after posting a two-under-par 70.

Garcia slipped off the pace on Friday and he was unable to bridge the gap on the weekend, ending day three nine shots behind Zunic.

After teeing off with a six-stroke deficit, Garcia tried to claw his way back into contention but a mixed bag of four birdies and two late bogeys left him on the outer.

"It's funny, 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," Garcia said.

"But, other than that, I feel like I fought hard again today and it's a shame about the finish because, you know, I finished two under; obviously not to win because the guys are going crazy up top, but to have a really good finish, it would have been nice.

"Unfortunately, a couple of bogeys there at the end. But like I said, the way I'm feeling, as tired as I am, I'm still proud of the way I fought."

Source: OPTA

Story first published: Saturday, December 2, 2017, 12:30 [IST]
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