Paddison holds two-stroke edge in Melbourne

Last updated 20:06 08/02/2014

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New Zealand's Gareth Paddison is on course to claim his second Victoria PGA Championship title as he carries a two-stroke advantage into the final round at the Heritage Golf Club in Melbourne.

A smooth six-under 66 allowed the left hander to nudge ahead of New South Welshman Jamie Arnold, who had shared the overnight lead with the Wellingtonian at nine-under.

Paddison's lead would have been greater heading into the home stretch had he not dropped shots at the 16th and 17th although those glitches did not detract from a round that contained eight birdies.

The 33-year-old, who won the 2012 edition of the tournament, produced his lowest round of the week to improve to 15-under and was understandably buoyed by the prospect of another title.

"To get another win under the belt would be amazing because that would be number five on the PGA Tour of Australasia," he said.

"It would be a massive confidence boost going into the next three events."

"The game is feeling pretty good but there is still a lot of golf to be played and a lot of good players chasing me."

With the first three rounds being played in hot temperatures the Wellington professional is hoping that the wind picks up tomorrow.

"In the wind I am pretty good, I don't hit it overly high and a punch shot is my preferred option," he said.

"If the wind is up then even par or a couple under could be a good score."

Arnold and fellow Australian Ben Eccles were in a tie for second while Kiwi Michael Hendry matched Paddison's 66 to rise for a tie for 10th to fourth at 12-under.

First round leader Mark Brown has carded back-to-back 71s after a stunning 65 to be in a tie for seventh, six shots adrift of countryman Paddison.

Ryan Fox is also in seventh after a 68, another gradual improvement of his first up 70.

Australian Kim Felton produced the round of the day, a course record equalling bogey-free 64 - though he is surely out of the title race at seven-under. 

Meanwhile, in the Australian Ladies Masters at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, New Zealand's Cathryn Bristow was in a tie for 19th at two-under after compiling a one-under 72.

She was 10 strokes adrift of American Cheyenne Wood, the niece of the legendary Tiger, who claimed the outright lead with a four-under 69 pushing her to -12 for the tournament.

Woods has a one stroke lead over Stacey Lee Bregman while West Australian MinJee Lee, a long-time rival of Lydia Ko, was the leading amateur in third - one stroke behind the South African.

Caroline Bon, the other Kiwi to make the cut, recorded a four-over 77 to remain in the lower reaches of the leaderboard.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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