PGA Tour star Brandt Snedeker has taken control of the Fiji International, the World Number 23 opening a three shot lead at the Natadola Bay Golf Course with one round to play.
Snedeker signed for a 2-under 70 to get to 12-under through 54 holes, Victoria’s Anthony Houston outright second at 9-under.
Trailing by one shot at the start of the day, the Ryder Cup star played steady golf in the more difficult Saturday conditions as those around him struggled.
Overnight leader Matthew Giles dropped a shot at the first to allow Snedeker to grab a share of the lead and posted two more bogies on his way to the turn to fall off the pace.
PIETERS POUNDS 400 YARD DRIVE:
Houston also made hard work of the opening nine with three dropped shots against a lone birdie while Snedeker opened with eight straight pars before posting his first birdie of the day at the 9th.
“At the start of the day if you told me I was going to shoot a couple under par I would have taken it,” he said.
“As tough as the conditions are and as many big numbers are out there possibly waiting for you, it was a tough day, a day where you weren’t going to go real low.
“I did a good job of hanging in there but I have to go out tomorrow and finish it off.”
An eight time PGA Tour winner, Snedeker said he’ll be prepared for the pressure tomorrow and won’t be taking anything for granted with more blustery conditions predicted.
“A three shot lead in a wind like this can go in one hole,” he said of his margin heading to the final round.
“I need to go out there and play a solid round of golf like I did today.”
While not getting ahead of himself Snedeker admitted he was cautiously optimistic about his chances.
“When you get older on tour you figure out a way to get it done,” he said of closing out tournaments.
“When I was younger didn’t have a great record but as I’ve gotten older I’ve figured out what works and how to handle the pressure and how to handle all the stuff that’s going to come along tomorrow.”
While Snedeker is the clear favourite tomorrow presents a big opportunity for some of Australia’s rising young talent, particularly second placed Anthony Houston.
Despite finding the going tough with a 1-over round Saturday the 24-year-old said he was proud of his play.
"I was struggling mid-round. In the past I would give it away and drop a few more shots but I really hung in there," he said after his round.
"You never want to lose it and just give up when you're playing with such a good person like Brandt.
"I'm sure he's been where I was before and did the right things so I want to do the right things too."
Houston said while he enjoyed the experience of playing with Snedeker, who he will be paired with again tomorrow, he only has eyes for the main prize and the possibility of joining best mate Nathan Holman on the European Tour.
"I would be lying if I said I didn't know what was up for grabs at the end of this," he said.
"Nathan and I have been best mates since we were 12, coming through the same golf club. I know I can play as good as him on his day but his bad days are just more consistent."
"So I've just got to make mine the same and I think that's just what I did today.”
Matthew Giles is outright third at 8-under with New Zealanders Michael Hendry and Gareth Paddison sharing fourth at 7-under.
TOP 10 RYDER CUP MELTDOWNS: