Smith leads by three at Royal Queensland

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Cameron Smith (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

In his first return to the DP World since his switch to LIV Golf, Cameron Smith leads the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship by three shots after posting a third-round two under par 69 at Royal Queensland Golf Club.

The Australian carded six birdies and four bogeys on Saturday to head into the final round on 11 under par, with Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura and China’s Liu Yan Wei his nearest challengers on eight under.

Smith, who won The Open Championship earlier this year, began day three shots adrift of Scrivener, but was two ahead after he made his second birdie of the day with a near ace at the par-three fourth and his countryman made a bogey.

The 29-year-old made his third birdie of the day at the sixth to lead by three, with another following at the seventh, before he bogeyed the par-five ninth to hit the turn in 33. Back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12 saw Smith’s lead disappear, yet two birdies in a row from the 15th steadied the ship, before a final bogey on the 18th left him to sign for a 69 as he targets his third title in this event.

“I’d like to be six or seven ahead, to be honest, but it’s a good spot to be in. I can’t complain. Everything’s feeling really good, so feeling really confident and really looking forward to tomorrow.” Smith said after his round.

“I think it was a little bit frustrating there on that back nine, but in these conditions I would have taken two under at the start of the day, so it’s kind of the case that beggars can’t be choosers. But yeah, it was really hot obviously on that front nine. I felt really good and it’s just frustrating to end like that.

“My big thing down here was to have a really big crack at the Aussie Open. I haven’t won one of those yet and I think that would be a really good end to a really good year. I’ll be trying my best tomorrow still.” added the Open Champion.

Two-time DP World Tour winner Min Woo Lee and halfway leader Jason Scrivener were part of a four-strong group of Australians with Brad Kennedy and Jake McLeod a shot further back.

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