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Pearce leads by one at the North Island Stroke Play
Daniel Pearce
Daniel Pearce
Hamilton, New Zealand (March 17, 2012) -- Former New Zealand rep Daniel Pearce will take a one shot lead into the final round of the North Island Stroke Play tomorrow after carding a superb nine under par 63 today in fine conditions at the Lochiel Golf Club. The 23-year-old, who is originally from Hastings but has been based in Melbourne playing out of the Yarra Yarra Golf Club in 2012, made seven birdies and an eagle at the last to match the course record which Srixon Academy member Fraser Wilkin shot in round two.

He holds a one shot lead from Peter Lee of the Rotorua Golf Club, who had a five under par 67, while overnight leader Craig Hamilton (Omanu) is in third two shots back from Pearce.

The big hitting Pearce, who represented New Zealand two years ago on a regular basis, has been a revelation in 2012 with his form on both sides of the Tasman.

Tomorrow he’ll look to take advantage of his best chance to win a national title but first he’d allowed himself to enjoy what was a remarkable round.

“I hit the ball really well and the biggest thing was I holed a lot of putts, a lot of putts [laughs],” he said after his round.

“I hit it close all day really so I had plenty of chances and I made quite a few of them. “

Pearce, who had local professional Pieter Zwart caddying for him, was pleased to finish his round in style at the par 5 18th.

“It was tracking well the whole way. Pieter has been kind enough to be on the bag for me this week and he gave me a really nice read there. We were both pretty happy to see it go in.

Pearce, who spent last night before dark hitting nine iron shots in the field next to his host’s house to get some rhythm back, is excited about his opportunity tomorrow.

“I am really looking forward to the final round. I did a good job of staying patient and hitting some good shots. It all came together well.”

Blair Riordan (Takaka), Owen Burgess (Russley) and Justin Morris (Putaruru) share fourth place on a five under par total.

Meantime in the women’s division a showdown is on for the title with Lochiel member Emily Perry in a share of the lead with Lita Guo.

The New Zealand rep Perry, who has had a stellar season in 2012 with highlights like sharing the round one lead of the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch, had three birdies and two bogeys for a one under par 71.

The Remuera Golfer Guo made four birdies and three bogeys as she put pressure on the pre-tournament favourite and match her four under par total from three rounds.

The pair will head into tomorrow’s final round with a five shot lead with Titirangi golfer Mun Chin Keh the next best after a one over 73 today.

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