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Jordan Zunic takes control at Queensland Open

Zunic leads by five with one round to play. (Photo: Golf Australia)
New South Welshman Jordan Zunic has taken control of the Isuzu Queensland Open at the Brisbane Golf Club, the 26 year old from NSW producing a third round of 65 to race five shots clear of Steven Jeffress and Adam Blyth with Rhein Gibson and Jamie Arnold another shot back in a share of 4th place.

Tied for the lead as he began round three, Zunic quickly let his intentions be known with two early birdies and then added another five birdies and a bogey for his round of 65 and the significant lead.

Zunic lost a playoff for the Australian PGA Championship last summer and, as a result, instead of gaining full European Tour status he has had to rely on starts where he could get them on the European Challenge and European Tours in 2018 with very limited success.

An improved finish at last week’s WA Open suggested things were improving for the former New Zealand Open and Northern Territory PGA Champion.

With the Final Stage of qualifying for the 2019 European Tour in Spain next week, Zunic’s form turnaround has come at a good time as he looks to gain access to a tour on which he has wanted to play for several seasons now.

First, however, he has to get through tomorrow’s final round with the prospect of a third PGA Tour of Australasia within his sights.

“My game plan has worked pretty well all week so I’ll stick with that, wind dependant obviously, if that changes it’ll change everything,” said Zunic referring to how he will handle things tomorrow.

“I’m really happy with my shots and lines I’m taking off the tees so if I just keep rolling my putts in like I have been and give myself some looks at birdie I should be pretty good.”

Jeffress and Blyth have both won on the PGA Tour of Australasia although neither for more than two years. Jeffress won the inaugural Fiji International in 2014 while Blyth has won both the 2016 NSW Open and the 2016 South Pacific Open in what was essentially his breakthrough year.

For Blyth, who played with Zunic today, he is aware of just how well the leader is playing and the area of his own game he needs to tidy up ahead of tomorrow’s final round.

He was thankful for a short game that kept him at least in the mix, even if five shots behind.

“That was probably the highlight for me today, it’s one of those things when you’re a little off you’ve got to hang in somehow and I was able to do that,” said Blyth.

“I had some fantastic up and downs which saved me and allows me to have an outside chance tomorrow.

“Looking back I’m not hitting good shots and it’s putting me in those positions, I’ve got to fix that up tomorrow. It’s great to make those par saves but I want to be making birdies tomorrow.”

Gibson is a former PGA Tour player who has shown previously a capacity to go very low on occasions but he will need to if he is to make up the six shot deficit between he and the leader while Arnold has played the Web.Com Tour in recent years, gaining much experience in the process.

Having missed his last five cuts on the Web.Com Tour in season 2018 this is a nice start to the Australian summer for Arnold.

Like all of those chasing Zunic however, Arnold’s chances tomorrow will depend as much on the leader’s capacity to hold onto the lead as his own play.

 

 

 

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