Blizard grabs lead after NZ PGA third round

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 20:31 02/03/2013
Rohan Blizard
Getty Images
BLIZARD RELAXED: Rohan Blizard is relaxed heading into the final round of the NZ PGA just one shot ahead of Kiwi Michael Hendry.

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A third round six under 66 has seen New South Welshman Rohan Blizard take over the lead in the NZ PGA Championship heading into tomorrow's final round near Queenstown.

The 28-year-old sits at 15 under and leads defending champion Michael Hendry by one shot after playing tip and go with the overnight leader for much of the afternoon.

Hendry shot a four under 68 while Scott Strange is in third place after a three under 69, but their fellow overnight leader Aaron Townsend has slipped to a share of seventh after an even par round left him at 10 under.

Blizard was relaxed about not being the crowd favourite in a final grouping with Hendry tomorrow.

''You just have to see how the crowd reacts to your good shots and if you are doing well out there you can't really think about it too much,'' Blizard, winner of the West Australian Open in 2011, said.

''I obviously know that the crowd will be going for Mike seeing he's the defending champion and he's from New Zealand, but if you are playing well and the crowd applauds good shots that's all you can really ask for.''

Victorian David Bransdon turned in the best round of this year's championship so far, rocketing up the leaderboard with an eight under 64.

Bransdon finished on the cut line at -1 on Friday, but peeled off nine birdies and a bogey this morning in perfect conditions at The Hills for a share of 14th, six shots behind Blizard.

Leigh Deagan was also a mover, a four under round giving him outright fourth at 11 under for the tournament, while 50-year Greg Turner, who is eyeing a move to the seniors tour, went five under for a share of seventh nearly 30 years after he won this tournament.

Seventeen-year-old Chinese professional Li Haotong (TICK), playing with double All Black Jeff Wilson as part of the pro-am tournament which runs alongside the championship, was six under for the day to share fifth place with Gareth Paddison at 11 under.

Haotong turned professional in 2011 and was the Australasian PGA's leading rookie that year, winning the Kel Nagle Plate.

Michael Long and Chris Hunter lead the pro-am event at 11 under, one shot ahead of professional Jason Norris and amateur Kevin Lewis and Daniel Nisbet, who shot six under yesterday, playing with Les Richardson.

Prime Minister John Key, playing with Mark Brown, is the leading celebrity in the pro-am component, three shots behind the leaders.

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