PERTH, Australia (AP) — Local West Australian golfer Brody Ninyette shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to take a one-shot lead after the third round of the Perth International.
Ninyette had seven birdies and two bogeys in a round which gave him an 8-under 208 in the European Tour event. He was a shot ahead of compatriot Brett Rumford, J.B. Hansen of Denmark and Jin Jeong of South Korea.
Rumford shot a 65, Hansen had a 66 and Jeong shot 69 to remain in strong contention at Australia’s richest tournament.
England’s Richard Finch and Ross Fisher were among a group of five players a further shot back at 210.
Defending champion Bo Van Pelt shot a 71 to drop back into a tie for 13th with overnight leader Peter Hedblom of Sweden. Hedblom needs to win to keep his European Tour card, but only managed a 75 to fall four shots off the pace.
The 26-year-old Ninyette, who is of indigenous Australian heritage, shot 69 in the second round and was even better on Saturday. He said his close friend and local player Ric Edwards gave him advice about how to play the Lake Karrinyup Country Club course.
“He’s been a member here for most of his junior golf career,” Ninyette said. “He reads the greens well and knows the course well.”
Rumford, bidding for his third European Tour title of the year, three-putted the last hole to miss a chance of breaking the course record of 64 set last year by Michael Hendry and Alejandro Canizares.
In May, Rumford became the first Australian in 41 years to win back-to-back European Tour titles when he followed up his victory in South Korea with a win at the China Open.
“Winning in front of your home crowd, there would be nothing better than that,” Rumford said. “Obviously it’s massive just to have won back to back this year.
“You win a couple of times and you think, ‘let’s go out and do it again’. But it doesn’t quite happen that way and you realize how hard it is to win out here. There’s so many great players, and the last nine holes of any championship can just swing so quickly. But I’ve got myself in position to win. I’ll be working hard and that’s what I’ll be focusing on for the next 24 hours.”