Rose in contention in Sydney but blows chance to share lead with Senden
11:28 GMT, 8 December 2012
Justin Rose will head into the final round of the Australian Open two strokes off the lead after a late stumble cost him a share of the overnight lead at The Lakes in Sydney.
Rose had held a two-shot advantage in the afternoon but spoiled his round with consecutive bogeys on the final two holes to finish the day on five under overall.
Despite that the world No 4 remains firmly in contention to end 2012 on a high with his third-round two-under-par 70 leaving him in second place behind local hopeful John Senden.
In with a chance: Justin Rose is two shots behind the leader at the Australian Open
It is the second consecutive year Senden has held the 54-hole lead at the tournament and Rose is expecting a tough battle when they are paired tomorrow with high winds expected.
'I hear the wind's going to switch and blow just as hard,' Rose said.
'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.'
Senden, who had led after the opening round, had to withstand a shaky start today as he bogeyed his opening two holes to fall behind a cluster of seven players who briefly held the lead.
Leading the way: John Senden is top of the leaderboard going into the final round
But the 2006 Stonehaven Cup winner made his charge on the back nine, producing an eagle on the par-five 11th and adding consecutive birdies from the 13th to card a two-under 70 and sit at seven under overall.
'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,' Senden said.
'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.'
Matt Jones (69), Peter Senior (69) and Kieran Pratt (70) are level in third place a shot behind Rose.
Pratt stole the outright lead with spectacular eagle at the 11th but his stint at the top of the leaderboard ended on the very next hole with a bogey.
Champion in 2001, Stuart Appleby and his American playing partner Kyle Stanley both posted two-under 70s to be three under for the tournament alongside Cameron Percy (72).
Home favourite: Adam Scott ponders his options during the third round
Pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott is a shot further back among a group of nine players in a share of ninth after posting his second straight 71.
Scott burst out of the blocks with consecutive birdies but had given both shots back by the fifth hole to make the turn in level par.
He mixed two bogeys and three birdies on the way home and will need something special on Sunday to claim his second Australian Open title, trailing by five shots.
Scott Gardiner fired the low round of the day, a four-under 68, to sit a further shot back alongside amateur Cameron Smith (69) and defending champion Greg Chalmers (69).
Geoff Ogilvy is also at one under after carding an adventurous 70 that included an eagle and a double bogey.
Struggling: Tom Watson had a round to forget in Sydney
Meanwhile, veteran Tom Watson made a move in the wrong direction with a six-over 78.
'It was ugly out there today for me, very ugly,' Watson said immediately after his round.
'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.
'I'm not blaming anything but I woke up at 3 o'clock this morning and couldn't go back to sleep and I'm jetlagged pretty good coming back from South Africa.'