REUTERS - Australia’s Wade Ormsby tore up the back nine with five birdies to take a one-stroke lead at the end of the third round of the Fiji International at Sigatoka on Saturday.
The 37-year-old’s six-under-par 66 put him on 10-under 206 for the tournament at the Natadola Bay Golf Course, a shot clear of compatriot Jason Norris (70).
Another Australian, James Marchesani, shot a 67 to stand alone in third place on eight-under at a tournament co-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian Tours.
Ormsby is a former European Tour regular renowned for his putting but it was not until the eighth hole that he started converting the birdie chances he was creating on the greens.
Four successive birdies from there, including one at the 10th set up by a seven iron to a couple of feet, and three more in the last six holes left him in a good position to add a second career title to that he won at the 2013 Indian Open.
“I didn’t think I would be in that position after seven holes, I was getting a bit frustrated, the putter started to get a bit hot so I started to move in the right direction,” he said.
”I think everyone who has played golf knows that when the putts start dropping you get happier out there.
“I have led one and I won that. You obviously learn every time you play and you’re around the front so I am always trying to learn that little bit more. Even at 37 you are always learning how to manage yourself and your emotions.”
Norris had a share of the overnight lead and could have owned it outright going into the final round but for a triple bogey at the par-four 16th after a poor drive.
“In the hazard you should still make five but a couple more poor shots as well and it adds up to a seven,” he said.
Scott Hend, the big-hitting Australia who finished 10th at the recent WGC-Bridgestone, hit a level par 72 to drop from a share of the lead to a share of fourth.
“It was a frustrating day out there,” said the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.
“I missed only two greens but made only two birdies today. I just couldn’t make putts. Hopefully I can make some tomorrow.”
U.S. Masters champions Mike Weir (69), Angel Cabrera (72) and Vijay Singh (73) probably have too much ground to make up to challenge in Sunday’s final round at six, seven and 10 shots off the pace.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Greg Stutchbury