Geary fired a 4-under 68 to go with his first two rounds of 68 and 69, to lead by one at 11-under par for the tournament heading into the final day tomorrow at Pegasus Golf and Sports Club.
There was a lot of movement on the leaderboard during the final three holes of play today, but Geary held his nerve to finish ahead of the pack despite not playing at his best.
He said he’s pleased with how things stand heading into tomorrow.
“I’ve battled all week with my swing, it doesn’t quite feel like it’s all there,” Geary said.
“So, the game plan has been to try and knock it somewhere down the middle and then somewhere up near the green where my short game can do what it can.
“I was pretty pleased with the end result today. A 68 in the tricky conditions great, I’ll certainly take it.”
Geary has the opportunity to create a little bit of history of his own tomorrow; he can join Michael Hendry with the most wins in Jennian Homes Charles Tour history with six titles to his name.
He said he’s excited at the prospect of tomorrow.
“It’d be awesome to win my sixth title on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour. I think I’ve only won at two of the courses, so it’d be nice to win somewhere new,” he laughed.
A shot back is New Zealand National Academy member Mako Thompson.
After leading for most of the back nine, Thompson fell a shot behind after a tough double bogey on the last.
He says he’s really happy with how he’s playing this week and will attack the course in the same fashion he’s done over the first three days.
“I played really solid today. I was bogey-free throughout the front nine,” Thompson said.
“The tee shot on 18 was tricky. The wind was coming off the left and I hadn’t over-cut one the whole day. Unfortunately, the tee shot caught the wind and hit the downslope of the bunker and rolled out of bounds.
“I was committed to the shot so I’m happy with myself and how I played today.”
One of his closest friends James Hydes won the Autex Muriwai Open in August and Thompson said there is plenty of inspiration drawn from watching his good mate win on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour.
“With Jimmy winning Muriwai and Sam [Jones] winning pretty much every other amateur event we’ve played in, the bar has been set pretty high.,” Thompson said.
“We’ve got a good squad down here this week and we’ll see what we can do. Personally, the game plan for me won’t change.”
Michael Hendry sits a further shot back in a tie for third with Hydes.
After an opening six-over-par, Hendry did not expect to see himself in contention come Sunday. Since his opening rounds, he’s carded rounds of 65 and 64 to rocket back into tournament contention.
He said after being lost in the first round, his game is a lot closer to clicking.
“I’m certainly close to finding it. I was playing the last hole yesterday and I thought about what I was doing poorly and managed to fix it and hit a really good shot,” Hendry said.
“I worked at it after the round and today it felt really good. I missed two fairways and I hit every green which was really good in the windy conditions,” Hendry explained.
Like Geary, he also has the opportunity to create some history. With a win tomorrow, he will win his seventh Jennian Homes Charles Tour event; the most out of anyone on the tour.
He said he’s looking forward to seeing what he can do tomorrow.
“It’d be really cool. I think it’s the most out of anyone on the tour but anytime you win a golf tournament it’s a great feeling.
“To have the chance to do that considering where I was starting from yesterday morning will be the most exciting thing about the win if I manage to get it done tomorrow. To come from so far behind to get it done would be hugely satisfying.
“I’m just going to keep working on what I’m working on and hopefully the putts will continue to drop,” he said.
Leaderboard after round 3
11-Under 205 Josh Geary (PGA New Zealand) 68 69 68
10-Under 206 Mako Thompson (Maraenui) 69 68 69
9-Under 207 Michael Hendry (PGA New Zealand) 78 65 64, James Hydes (Gulf Harbour Country Club) 70 68 69, Ryan Chisnall (PGA New Zealand) 66 67 74
8-Under 208 Luke Toomey (PGA New Zealand) 73 66 69, Oscar Cadenhead (PGA New Zealand) 73 66 69, Gareth Paddison (PGA New Zealand) 72 66 70, Daniel Hillier (PGA New Zealand) 66 70 72
7-Under 210 Tyler Wood (Palmerston North) 70 71 69