Australia's Zach Murray leads NZ Open after 3 rounds

ARROWTOWN, New Zealand (AP) — Australian rookie Zach Murray birdied his last two holes Saturday to retain a one-shot lead after three rounds of the New Zealand Open.

Murray started the day five shots clear but struggled in generally good scoring conditions to post 1-under 70 which left him 17-under after three rounds.

New Zealand's Josh Geary shot an 8-under 63 to briefly tie Murray for the lead but Murray's birdie on the par four 18th restored a narrow advantage. Geary ended the day in second place at 16-under, a shot off the lead.

Murray, who turned pro in October, has led throughout the tournament after shooting a first round 63 — his best professional round. He went five shots clear with a 6-under 65 in the second round but came back to the field Saturday with a round that included five birdies and three bogeys.

Geary had eight birdies an eagle and a bogey in his second round charge up the leaderboard.

New Zealand's Harry Bateman and Japan's Kodai Ichihara and Ryuko Tokimatsu were tied for third place at 14 under at the par 71 Hills course.

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