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Kirk fires, Herman holds at Moonah

(Photo: Anthony Powter)
Two American's share the lead following the third round of the Moonah Classic. A three over par round 75 by overnight leader, Jim Herman, sees him equal with Chris Kirk at 9-under-par, after Kirk fired the low round 65 for the day.

Kirk tamed the Moonah Links layout with precision driving carding a bogey free round, that included four birdies for a opening nine of 32, to be followed with three under for the back nine.

Today's round was Kirk career best since turning professional in 2007 and he's taken plenty of positives from it and will seek to keep the momentum moving into the final day.

"I made up for yesterday's round," remarked Kirk about his second round 72, which included 32 putts.

"I went and spent more than two hours on the practice green after the round and the practice has never paid off like yesterday's session."

Kirk displayed some peerless golf combating the tough conditions with ease in a round that he later described as being more a guessing game, than anything else.

"The wind was affecting everything," he said.

"At times it becomes a guessing game. I made a lot of good guesses today. I always tell myself that the key in wind is to not hit it hard."

The American will be looking to secure his maiden tour victory after a disappointing 2009 season on the Nationwide, where in thirteen starts he made the cut in just four. Kirk has experience the heat of tournament battle and is no stranger to stepping into the breech on the Nationwide Tour. In 2008, Kirk nearly won the Knoxville Open on the Nationwide Tour, losing to Jarrod Lyle in a playoff.

Herman in in contrast struggled with the strong winds throughout the day, opening with a bogey on the first, his first for the tournament after earlier bogey free rounds of 62-70.

"It was very difficult today," said Herman.

"I was trying to stay positive, but I knew it was going to be a grind. My 75 was not that bad a round."

There were earlier on some signs of third-round nerves from Herman and it took the American some time to get back into the rhythm that he'd enjoyed for the last two rounds at Moonah.

"I'm not accustomed to this position, but you've got to thrive in these situations," he said.

"It's been a year since I've been near the lead, but I've played well over here [Australia and New Zealand] at this time of year. Tomorrow is another round and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Australian Andrew Dodt was another third round mover after a 4-under-par round to elevate the former Australian Amateur Stroke Play Champion into a share of 3rd position at 5-under-par.

Dodt finds himself with three other players including Alistair Presnell, with the 2009 Moonah champion firing rounds of 71-70-70. Jarrod Lyle, who's even-par round could have been anything had a number of putts drop for the Victorian also is in a share of 3rd position.

Two closing bogeys only compounded to Lyle's frustrations out there today, after starting the round promising and making the turn at 2-under-par. It was a case of "what it could have been" for Lyle and he left the course knowing that shots had been unnecessarily lost out on the course.

American Scott Guyschewski is also at 5-under-par with Lyle, Dodt and Presnell and was one of only fourteen players to break par for the third round, testament to the challenging conditions that confronted the field.

With sixteen players within four of Kirk and Herman and the unpredictability with the way Moonah Links can play, the stage is again set for a thrilling final round in the last Australasian Nationwide Tour event this season.

Many a career has been kickstarted at Moonah, with the likes of Ewan Porter and Alistair Presnell recent examples, and there's no shortage of players looking to ride the wave of winning early and to position themselves for the remainder of the season when it returns to the US.

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