Australian Open: John Senden leads Justin Rose in Sydney event
John Senden leads the Australian Open after the third round, but Justin Rose is now looming large in second place.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 09/12/12 6:54am
Senden held the 54-hole lead last year but could not convert that into the win as he finished second, and he will have a big job on his hands again as he will have to see off the world n umber four on Sunday.
2006 champion Senden had to deal with strengthening winds at the Lakes Course towards the end of his round, but held on for three closing pars to sign for a two-under round of 70, containing an eagle and three birdies.
That round put the Australian on seven-under for the tournament, which he was more than happy with given the gusty winds at the end of his round.
"It was a day of just trying to do my best to stay up there and it's nice to be leading the golf tournament," said Senden.
"I thought the last two holes were pretty much close to the edge, it was so windy out there it was hard to hit the ball straight."
Rose matched Senden's round of 70 to sit just two shots behind in second place on five-under, having dropped two shots in the closing holes as the wind took its toll.
"I hear the wind's going to switch and blow just as hard," said Rose. "Whoever literally stands up could win the golf tournament, it could be last man standing.
"I think it's going to be a battle but I'm excited. As long as it doesn't get out of control and blow too hard, it's going to be a fun day to try and hit some shots.
"It's going to be my last round of the year and I'd like to go out on a high note."
53-year-old Peter Senior last won on the European Tour 20 years ago, but is in third place after his round of 69, and he is three shots back alongside Kieran Pratt and Matthew Jones.
Four shots behind the leader is nine-time winner on the PGA Tour Stuart Appleby, who is hoping to end his nightmare run with a win on home soil.
"I'm hitting it better," Appleby said. "I hit it really well yesterday. I feel like I am coming back. I'd love to have made more progress a while back. You have to be patient. That is the beauty of this game. You have no real time period."
World number seven Adam Scott mixed five birdies with four bogeys for a round of 71, but he is still in touch in ninth at two-under, especially if conditions continue to be difficult.
63-year-old veteran Tom Watson struggled though, with the eight-time major winner making eight bogeys in a round of 78.
"It was ugly out there today for me, very ugly," said Watson. "I struggled on the practice area warming up, I didn't have any feel for the club and didn't put the clubface on the ball."