Kennedy leads New Zealand Open

Brad Kennedy shot a 4-under-par, 68, on Saturday to take a three-shot lead into the final round of the New Zealand Open.

Overnight leader Craig Parry, who won the 2002 event when Tiger Woods was in the field, fired a lack-lustre 73 to slide into a three-way tie for fourth.

Brad Kennedy Brad Kennedy (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Kennedy, the world number 228, had eight birdies and four bogeys as he broke out of a three-way tie for the overnight lead. The 37-year-old has had a fine season on the Japan Tour, with three top-five placings to retain his playing privileges.

New Zealander Josh Geary shot 71 to be 6-under and in second place. Terry Pildarkis is another shot back after shooting 69 to move into sole possession of third place.

In a day where scoring was challenging, Kennedy was able to hold his game together.

“It was a bit of a battle out there, it was up and down like a yo-yo, it was a great day but a lot of frustration as well,” said Kennedy.

“I felt like today I just had to keep attacking and I will be doing the same tomorrow, you can’t let this course get to you if you try and conserve or stay it can get you pretty easy.”

Kennedy is yet to claim a national title but he has experienced some success in tier two events winning the 2000 Wynnum Open and the 2001 Bargara Classic on the Queensland Sunshine tour.

Last year Kennedy won the Western Australian Open and he hopes to continue with another win in 2011.

“To win a national open of anyone’s country would be pretty special, there are a lot of great names on that trophy,” says Kennedy.

“It would be my second tour victory in a couple of years, so I will be out there trying to fight tomorrow.”

In addition to receiving their share of the AU$400,000 prize money, the tournament winner will also earn a place in the 2011 JBWere Masters and exemption onto the PGA Tour of Australasia for two years.