CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (Feb. 24, 2012) -- Te Awamutu golfer Compton Pikari has shot a four-under-par 68 in the third round of the South Island Stroke Play at the Christchurch Golf Club to earn a three shot lead as he chases his first senior national title. The 16-year-old, who heading into the tournament had won three of his last four junior tournaments including the North Island Under 19 title at the Hamilton Golf Club, made four birdies in a bogey free round to lead Tim Leonard (67) heading into tomorrow’s final round.
Pikari was happy with his progress on moving day and is excited by the prospect of winning another national title in 2012. In round three he handled the pressure superbly of contending with some of New Zealand’s leading amateur talent.
“I was being patient and I waited for the putts to drop,” said the 16-year-old.“I am pretty excited to get out there tomorrow and play my own game. I will have a good rest when I get home. The course sets up pretty well for me so I am just waiting for it to happen really.”
The Waikato rep, who was recently called up to the Junior Trans-Tasman Cup team, is a player on the rise. His turnaround in form in 2012 has been born in hard work.
“I have been practicing every day pretty much every day for the past two months and it is paying off. My game is getting a lot better.”
Leonard, from the Timaru Golf Club, fired an equally impressive five-under 67 to match the low round of the tournament and climb 10 places into second.
“I didn’t hit it as well as yesterday but I scored really well,” said the Srixon Development Player who had an usual preparation to the championship.“I have just been organising at my flat, trying to get my Uni stuff sorted, so it has been quite good to play golf and get away from it all this week. I will come out fresh with a new mindset tomorrow and keep going.”
Defending champion Vaughan McCall remains firmly in contention with a one-under-par 71 getting the Gore golfer to a four under par total and in outright third position.
New Zealand No.1 amateur Ben Campbell fired a three-under-par 69 to climb to a three under total in a share of fourth and five shots back from the leader Pikari. He hit the ball beautifully from tee to green but didn’t convert his chances.
“It was a bit of a frustrating day, I think I missed only one green, but I hit some really good putts that just kept hitting the lip and made a couple of silly bogeys but there is always tomorrow. I’ll be looking to fire at every flag and make a few more putts. Hopefully they set it up tough tomorrow, put the tees way back and tuck a few pins in tough places. I didn’t find it too hard today there were a couple of tough pins but nothing too bad.”
Overnight leader Sam An (Titirangi), who finished runnerup at the event in 2011, faded in round three with a three over par 75 while Daniel Pearce (Yarra Yarra) also fell away with a four over par 76.