Senden grabs lead on windswept Lakes G.C

Queenslander John Senden has a two shot lead at the Australian Open Championship at a windswept Lakes Golf Club in Sydney, his round of 70 particularly impressive given the circumstances and the conditions and that he was forced to recover from a bogey, bogey start to record it.

As was the case last year at this very venue Senden takes a lead into the final round and although run down over the final 18 holes twelve months ago, Senden appears to be better placed to finish the job in 2012.

Realistically however the 26 players still under par for the event so far likely consider themselves chances of claiming the title. Strong winds are expected to buffet the exposed Lakes layout in tomorrow's final round ensuring a gripping final day and if the roller coaster of events witnessed today are anything to go by then there are many twists and turns remaining over the final 18 holes.

Senden leads over pre tournament favourite and leading world ranked player in the field, Justin Rose, who like Senden recorded a round of 70 but who might just be looking at his day as one that is half empty rather than half full.

Rose shared the lead with Senden with two holes to play but bogeys the reachable par five 17th and another and the demanding par three 18th saw him slip behind.

Senden is chasing his second Australian Open title, his first coming in 2006 at the nearby Royal Sydney.

Senden has had yet another fine year in the US, once again making it to the Tour Championship restricted to the leading 30 players in the FedEx Cup points race.

He has a nice break on the field at present but tomorrow may well be a case of hanging onto your hat in more ways than one as the long list of potential contenders apply the blow torch to the leader.

Another shot further back is Sydney golfer Matt Jones, who two years ago finished runner-up behind Geoff Ogilvy at this venue and who has recently regained his PGA Tour status, the evergreen Peter Senior and Victorian Kieran Pratt.

PGA Tour players Cameron Percy, Kyle Stanley and Stuart Appleby are at 3 under and four behind Senden.

Stanley may well be the dark horse in the mix. This year he won an event on the PGA Tour seven days after being beaten into second place in another event. Stanley finished 11th in this event last year so despite his relative unknown status in the event he has knowledge of the layout and credentials from the PGA Tour.

The large group of players at 2 under and not yet out if it includes Adam Scott, Brendan Jones and 36 hole leader Marcus Fraser.

The round of the day came from recent PGA Tour graduate, Scott Gardiner who improved from his overnight 52nd to a share of 18th. Given the predicted conditions for tomorrow another similar round could potentially give Scott the title.

That might be easier said than done but it would be fair to say that Gardiner is not alone amongst those five from the lead and beyond in thinking he still has a winning chance.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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