In-form Zunic leads Lake Macquarie Amateur

Jordan Zunic takes a three shot lead over a packed leaderboard moving into the final day of the Lake Macquarie Amateur Championship at Belmont Golf Club, south of Newcastle.

Zunic overcame difficult conditions with strong southerly winds lashing the links-like Belmont layout to fire a 2-under-par 70 and is at 6-under after opening with rounds of 65-75.

Jordan Zunic Jordan Zunic takes a three shot lead into the final round of the Lake Macquarie Amateur (Photo: Anthony Powter)

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Five players are three shots behind Zunic including Geoffrey Drakeford, England’s Ryan Evans, New Zealand’s Luke Toomey and the Western Australian duo of Jarryd Felton and Curtis Luck.

On a day where caution called for the better part of valour, Zunic carded eight birdies, coupled with two double bogeys and two bogeys, in a mixed round but one he was pleased with overall.

“Today’s conditions meant you had to stay mentally strong and roll with the bad breaks that were certain to happen given the conditions,” said Zunic.

“It’s nice to lead and get into position. I played aggressive when I needed to and then took advantage of the opportunities the easier holes offer.”

“I’m still not totally match fit since the US, but my results since returning to Australian have been pleasing.”

During last year’s Western Amateur at Little Rock, Zunic was involved in a near fatal car accident that saw him out of the game for a number of months.

It was touch and go there for a while, yet Zunic has bounced back to show some sensational form with top-5 finishes at the Keperra Bowl and Federal Amateur, a top-20 finish at the Australian Master of the Amateurs and last week he made the top-16 at the Australian Amateur in Adelaide.

“I feel that I’m striking the ball the best I have for some time,” said Zunic.

“I’m good in the wind and if tomorrow is anything like today, I should be in for a good showing as my game has been strong.”

With five players three strokes off Zunic this Lake Macquarie Amateur again has turned into a stellar event.

England’s Ryan Evans is just ‘danger’ all over.

Last week in Adelaide, he ripped apart the Greg Norman designed East course at The Grange with a course record to be the top qualifier and the world number 34, as shown this afternoon, knows how to play in the wind.

Geoff Drakeford is just pure power on the golf course and will take advantage of the opportunities presented by the shorter wide open par 4′s and 5′s at Belmont.

Drakeford has immediate plans to turn professional with the Asian Tour Q-School in his sights, so he would love to exit top-flight amateur golf with a win.

It sets the stage for a sensational finish to a tournament, which continually produces great champions, with the names of Marc Leishman, Jarryd Lyle, Danny Lee, Brett Rumford, Daniel Nisbet to name a few, etched on the trophy.

Zunic has won before, his last top amateur win at the 2013 Tasmanian Open.

He will go out aggressively over the opening three holes, all of which are birdie opportunities.

Should Zunic widen the gap, then he’ll take some stopping, yet anything is possible around this golf course.