Senden leads Australian Open

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Sydney – Australian John Senden holed an eagle and two birdies on his back nine holes Saturday to lead England's Justin Rose by two shots heading into the final round of OneAsia's Australian Open at The Lakes.

Senden came home strongly for a two-under par 70 for a seven-under 209 and to hold the advantage over world number four Rose going into Sunday's final 18 holes.

Senden, the first-round leader, ignited his round with a brilliant eagle three on the par-5 11th.

He followed up with back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to put himself in line for a second national open crown after winning at Royal Sydney in 2006.

“Winning the national Open is always a dream, but there is a long way to go,” Senden said.

“I have to concentrate on what I do. It would be my best year but the last two years have been pretty good.”

Rose could have been leading at the end of the third round if it wasn't for closing with back-to-back bogeys in an otherwise solid 70.

The Englishman had been playing immaculately with four birdies in his first 12 holes before coming to grief at the last two holes in blustery winds.

“It got progressively tougher as the day went on,” Rose said.

“Towards the end of the round it was tough even to tap in. From three feet you would be buffeted around. It took a very good putt to get the ball in the hole.”

Rose, who finished second behind top-ranked Rory McIlroy at last month's World Tour Championship in Dubai, is confident of winning after putting himself into the running.

“I have been in contention quite a lot this year. I am beginning to feel comfortable with it and enjoy it, relish it,” Rose said.

“There are a lot of class players in this field. There is a home course advantage. The Australian guys will be more familiar with these conditions but I definitely feel good about my chances.”

Veteran Australian Peter Senior is one of three players on four-under 212, while Australia's world number seven Adam Scott edged into calculations with a one-under 71 to be five shots off the lead.

Halfway leader Marcus Fraser fell back to a tie for ninth after a 76, while American great Tom Watson crashed out of contention with a six-over 78. – Sapa-AFP

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