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Pilkadaris Continues Breathtaking NZ Open Run

Terry Pilkadaris holds a commanding five-shot lead after rounds of 64-64-62 at the New Zealand Open. (Photo: Photosport)
Victorian Terry Pilkadaris is on the verge of snapping a 13-year winless drought after his remarkable run of low-scoring continued on Saturday at the New Zealand Open in Queenstown.

The 44-year-old enters tomorrow’s final round at 24 under par and five shots clear of the field following a third round of 9-under 62 at the Millbrook Resort.

Pilkadaris - whose last professional win came at the 2005 Brunei Open on the Asian Tour - will play the final round with New South Welshman Callan O’Reilly, who shot a third round 66 to be 19 under while reigning NT PGA champion Travis Smyth and Daniel Nisbet share third at 18 under.

Beginning the third round at 15 under and with a one-shot lead, Pilkadaris capitalised on calm conditions at Millbrook.

He birdied the 4th, chipped in for another at the 5th and made a two at the par-three 7th to turn in a tidy 3-under 32 before adding six birdies in eight holes beginning with a two-putt birdie at the par-five 10th.

With significantly less firepower from the tee than his playing partner Nisbet, Pilkadaris relied on precision from tee to green; his ninth and final birdie for the day coming after laying up at the 525-metre par-five 17th.

A 20-foot birdie putt at the last to shoot 61 missed just to the right of the cup for a man who has never won on the PGA Tour of Australasia despite his veteran status.

The low scoring is expected to continue for Sunday’s final round on The Hills course, where Pilkadaris’ nearest challenger, O’Reilly, carded a course record 11-under 61 on Friday.

A third round 63 from Victorian David Bransdon leaves him sharing fifth at 17 under alongside rookie professional Harrison Endycott and American Jarin Todd.

COMPLETE SCORES

STEPH NA: TRUSTED PUTTING PRACTICE

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