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Poulter and Scott make their Masters charges


Ian Poulter and Adam Scott have finished blistering third rounds with birdies, ensuring a brilliant finish to the Australian Masters tomorrow. Poulter had a tap-in for a birdie on 18 after a superb lay-up, while Scott rolled in a 15-foot, left-to-right putt. Poulter, who had at one stage threatened the course record, finished the day with an eight-under 64, which featured nine birdies and a bogey. Scott shot seven birdies and three bogeys for a five-under 67.

Overnight leaders Matthew Guyatt and Matthew Hendry faltered under the fierce heat of "moving day". Hendry fell right out of contention, sliding to one-under with a seven-over-par 79. Guyatt dropped three shots in the final three holes after being within two shots of the lead at the 16th hole. His three-over 75 left him six shots behind the red-hot leader Poulter, and in need of luck on the final day.

Leading scores

-13: Ian Poulter (ENG) 18 holes
-12: Adam Scott (AUS) 18 holes
-7: Matthew Guyatt (AUS) 18 holes
-6: Mark Brown (NZL) 18 holes
-5: Chris Campbell (AUS) 18 holes, Craig Hancock (AUS) 18 holes, Gareth Paddison (NZL) 18 holes
-3: Jake Higginbottom (a-AUS) 18 holes
-2: David Bransdon (AUS) 18 holes, Paul Gow (AUS) 18 holes, Jason Scrivener (AUS) 18 holes, Jason Norris (AUS) 18 holes

Scott, Australia’s top-ranked player, is seeking his first Masters title and first win for the year, while Englishman Poulter is coming off a victory at his last start, when he charged home to win the HSBC Champions tournament in China. While Scott can expect to have the crowd on his side on Sunday, that is unlikely to bother Poulter. The Englishman amply demonstrated both his ability to perform on enemy territory and his love of head-to-head battles in spearheading Europe’s remarkable Ryder Cup win in Chicago in September.He also produced some stunning golf on Saturday.


Poulter notched eight birdies in his first 15 holes, helped by outstanding work with the putter, most notably sinking a monster birdie putt from off the front of the green on the seventh. Scott’s ball-striking was the key to his climb. By the time the pair completed the eighth hole, they had joined Guyatt in the lead and overtook him soon after, with Poulter and Scott then exchanging the lead several times on the back nine.

They both reached 13-under after they birdied the par-three 15th, at which stage Poulter was threatening to match the course record of 63. But both he and Scott dropped a shot on the par-four 16th and Scott let another go on the 17th to leave Poulter alone at the top.Poulter then fired in a near-perfect second shot to set up a tap-in birdie at the last with Scott holing a good-sized putt to stay within a shot.


The leaders have faltered late on the third day of the Australian Masters, but their stellar play earlier in the round has left them in a strong position. Leaders Ian Poulter and Adam Scott have both bogeyed the 16th hole, and Scott then dropped another shot at 17, leaving the Englishman one shot clear. After the 16th, the star pair were only two shots clear of Matthew Guyatt, but the overnight leader himself dropped two shots at the lethal 16th hole. Poulter is seven-under for his round, Scott four-under, and Guyatt is two-over, the easy-going Queenslander cracking somewhat under the birdie onslaught from his more highly-ranked rivals.

Leading scores:

-12: Ian Poulter (Eng) 17 holes
-11 Adam Scott (AUS) 17 holes
-8: Matthew Guyatt (AUS) 16 holes
-6 Craig Hancock (AUS) 17 holes, Mark Brown (NZ) 18
-5: Christopher Campbell (AUS) 18 holes, Gareth Paddison (NZ) 18 holes


The third round has become a battle of the tournament's two biggest names, with Australia's Adam Scott going head-to-head with charging defending champion Ian Poulter from England. Poulter is seven-under for his round after 14 holes, and Scott is five under, the two having first shared the lead after the eighth hole. In fine, mild conditions, both are mastering the small greens and tricky pin placement. Poulter has shot seven birdies, including three in a row from holes five to seven, without the blemish of a bogey. Scott has fired seven birdies and one bogey.


Leading scores:

-11: Ian Poulter (Eng) 10 holes
-10: Adam Scott (AUS) 10 holes,
-9: Matthew Guyatt (AUS) 9 holes,
-8: Craig Hancock (AUS) 11 holes
-6: Mark Brown (AUS) 15 holes
-5: Michael Hendry (AUS) 9 holes, Paul Gow (AUS) 12 holes

We all knew they were coming and the poster boys have finally put together a serious charge for the lead.
It has taken just eight holes on day three for defending champion Ian Poulter and World No. 5 Adam Scott to close the gap on the lead group of little-known bolters Matthew Guyatt and Michael Hendry. Scott and Poulter have each shot to 10-under today to be tied for the lead with Guyatt, who has held tough through his first eight holes, while Hendry's quest for a Masters upset has hit the skids.
Poulter flexed his muscles by peeling off five birdies in his first nine holes to catapult himself from five-under and tied for fourth overnight to the top of the leaderboard. The highlight of a round full of them came on the par four seventh when he rolled in a birdie chance from off the green to cap a run of three straight, as the golf began to lift a notch in far better conditions than the set that greeted players yesterday.
Scott, who began the day at seven-under and outright second, also completed a hat-trick of birdies on the 6th, 7th and 8th to put even more pressure on Guyatt and Hendry.
It has so far been too much for Hendry, the former state cricketer from New Zealand, who has slumped to equal-fifth after shooting three-over par in his first eight holes, leaving him five shots behind on five-under.
Guyatt began his day with a birdie on the 1st that moved him to 11-under, but he has since been up against it just trying to make par after a bogey on the par four 6th left him even with the card.
Tasmanian Craig Hancock flew under radar during two solid rounds on Thursday and Friday, but another impressive showing on Saturday has moved him into outright second at seven-under.
He is two-under after 10 holes today, backing up rounds of four-under and one-under before the cut.
Earlier, 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell fired a five-under par 67 to  help restore some of the pride lost after yesterday's nightmare round of five-over 77.
At one-under for the tournament and the likes of Poulter and Scott gaining shots rather than giving them up in the improved conditions, fellow poster boy McDowell is highly unlikely to be in contention on Sunday.


Leading scores:

-10: Adam Scott (AUS) 8 holes, Matthew Guyatt (AUS) 6 holes, Ian Poulter (Eng) 8 holes
-9: Craig Hancock (AUS) 8 holes
-5: Gareth Paddison (AUS) 10 holes, Michael Hendry (AUS) 6 holes

English visitor Ian Poulter is following the lead of fellow drawcard Graeme McDowell, by turning in a sizzling third round. Poulter is five-under after just eight holes today, after McDowell shot a fine five-under 67 to resurrect his tournament hopes after an indifferent second round. Poulter's burst has given the defending champion a share of the lead with Matthew Guyatt and Adam Scott, with the latter three-under for the round, threatening to match every advance the star Enmglishman can mster.


Leading scores

-11: Matthew Guyatt (AUS) 2 holes
-8: Adam Scott (AUS) 3 holes, Michael Hendry (NZL) 2 holes
-7: Ian Poulter (ENG) 3 holes, Craig Hancock (AUS) 3 holes
-4: David Bransdon (AUS) 3 holes, Paul Gow (AUS) 4 holes
-3: Chris Gaunt (AUS) 6 holes, Gareth Paddison (NZL) 5 holes, Brody Ninyette (AUS) 10 holes


Irish drawcard Graeme McDowell has capitalised on calm morning conditions at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath to breathe some life into his flagging Australian Masters campaign. The 2010 US Open champion finished Friday’s second round at four-over-par, right on the cut line. But he shot a five-under 67 on Saturday morning, including three birdies in the closing four holes, to climb to one-under and a share of 16th spot. That left him still nine shots behind tournament leader Matthew Guyatt, who was yet to start his third round. But McDowell was pleased to have at least restored some pride and repaid some of the faith of the event’s promoters, after he looked in danger of missing the cut when he shot 77 on Friday.

"They’ve put their trust in me to come down here this week," McDowell told reporters. "I was panicking a little bit down the stretch yesterday. I felt so out of sorts within myself.
"I knew I had to try to make the weekend.
"I was early to bed last night because pride kicks in. I wanted to go out there this morning and do my job.
"It was great. The spectators came out this morning and cheered me on - I was really appreciative of that."

’McDowell said he had struggled with his swing on Friday and for Saturday’s opening holes but felt it clicked into place about seven holes into his third round.Australian veterans Peter O’Malley and Peter Senior also relished the kind conditions. O’Malley picked up four shots in his first 15 holes to climb to two-under-par, while Senior shot 68 to reach even-par. Queenslander Guyatt, on 10-under, was scheduled to start his third round at 1.20pm (AEDT), alongside second-placed New Zealander Michael Hendry (eight-under).Australia’s top-ranked player Adam Scott, in third place on seven-under, and defending champion Ian Poulter, who held a share of fourth on five-under, were to tee off at 1.10pm.


-10: Matthew Guyatt (AUS) yet to play
-8: Michael Hendry (NZL) yet to play
-7: Adam Scott (AUS) yet to play
-5: Craig Hancock (AUS) yet to play, Ian Poulter (ENG) yet to play
-4: Matthew Millar (AUS) yet to play, David Bransdon (AUS) yet to play
-3: Paul Gow (AUS) yet to play
-2: Richard Green (AUS) 2 holes, Mark Brown (NZL) 2 holes, Chris Campbell (AUS) yet to play, Gareth Paddison (NZL) yet to play, Peter O’Malley (AUS) 15 holes, Chris Gaunt (AUS) 1 hole, Jason Scrivener (AUS) 4 holes


Resolved to put yesterday's horror day behind him, tournament drawcard Graeme McDowell has started the road to Masters redemption by picking up three shots on his overnight score of four-over. The Northern Irishman began his third round almost as strongly as he did his second, rolling in a birdie on the par 5 1st hole that he eagled on Friday.

Matt's day three preview.

Aside from a bogey on the fourth hole, the 2010 US Open winner is in a far better rhythm than on day two, adding four more birdies - offset by a bogey on the 14th - to be three-under for the day through 15 holes. He has three more chances to improve on his score of one-over and at least push towards even with the card heading into the final round.

However it would take a minor miracle for McDowell to threaten the leaders, topped by surprise-packet Queenslander Matthew Guyatt at 10-under.

Of the early groups out on the course this morning, veteran Peter Senior has set the pace, posting four birdies to get back to even par after a round of four-under through 15 holes. Two-time Masters champion Robert Allenby has managed to pick up two shots on his nightmare round from day two, which left him at four-over starting today. He is now two-over through 15 holes, while Australia's newest elevation to the US PGA Tour, Victorian Alistair Presnell, is one shot worse off at three-over having failed to eat into his overnight score after 11 holes today.

The lead pairing of Guyatt and second-placed New Zealander Michael Hendry will begin their round at 1.20pm, 10 minutes after the marquee duo of world No. 5 Adam Scott, third at seven-under, and defending champion Ian Poulter, tied for fourth at five-under.


-10: Matthew Guyatt (AUS) yet to play
-8: Michael Hendry (NZL) yet to play
-7: Adam Scott (AUS) yet to play
-5: Craig Hancock (AUS) yet to play, Ian Poulter (ENG) yet to play
-4: Matthew Millar (AUS) yet to play, David Bransdon (AUS) yet to play
-3: Paul Gow (AUS) yet to play
-2: Chris Gaunt (AUS) yet to play, Gareth Paddison (NZL) yet to play, Chris Campbell (AUS) yet to play

 - with AAP