28-year-old New Zealander Daniel Pearce has opened up a huge lead at the Coca Cola Queensland PGA Championship, a third round of 62 sweeping the tall Hawkes Bay based golfer eight shots clear of his nearest rivals.
Pearce now holds an eight stroke lead over Matthew Millar from Canberra and Victorian Adam Burdett at the City Golf Club in Toowoomba.
Pearce’s fellow New Zealander Mark Brown is another shot back and alone in fourth position while Sunshine Coast amateur Charlie Dann is in outright fifth place at 11-under but 10 shots from Pearce’s lead.
Pearce summed up his round as follows: “It was pretty slow early over the front nine really with just three birdies and a bogey but then the hole just kept getting in the way of the ball over the back nine,” he said.
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“I rolled in a lot of nice putts and made a lot of birdies.”
Four birdies and an eagle on the way home saw him record a back nine of 6-under 31, finishing with an eagle at the par five 17th and then holing a 12 footer for birdie at the last to put icing on the cake.
“I’ve been playing well this week and I played really well last week,” he said. “My putter is very hot at the moment.
“We had our first child about four and half weeks ago and the be honest I wasn’t even coming here this week as I wasn’t keen to leave her (Lola) and my wife (Sarah) at home.
“But playing with a wife and family has put things into a better perspective and while I am obviously still keen to play good golf I am feeling a lot more relaxed and am perhaps more interested in how they are doing than what’s happening on the golf course.
“I have been playing a lot of good golf all of this year to be honest. We shifted from Auckland to Hawkes Bay and I am just a lot happier where I am living now and the good golf is now coming out so things are good.”
Originally from Ashburton in the South Island, where he played much of his junior golf, Pearce still considers himself as being from that region but is now settled in Hawkes Bay and is clearly enjoying his life and lifestyle.
Pearce has won only one four round event as a professional, that coming in a Charles Tour event in Palmerston North, but many consider him a fine ball striker and this effort to date is no real surprise.
Matthew Millar kept his hopes alive with a round of 66 but both he and Burdett will need something extraordinary tomorrow, along with a little help from Pearce, if they are to have any chance of snatching the title.
Pre-tournament favourite and highest ranked player in the field, Brad Kennedy, now shares 6th position but some 11 shots from the lead.