John Senden leads Australian Open by two shots

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Australian Open leader John Senden follows his shot on 14th hole. He shot 70 after opening with 66-73. Playing partner Nick Cullen (right) had 74 and is five shots back.    ROB GRIFFITH/ASSOCIATED PRESS
ROB GRIFFITH/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Australian Open leader John Senden follows his shot on 14th hole. He shot 70 after opening with 66-73. Playing partner Nick Cullen (right) had 74 and is five shots back.

SYDNEY — Australian John Senden had an eagle and two birdies in a four-hole stretch on the back nine Saturday and finished with 2-under-par 70 for a two-stroke lead after three rounds of the Australian Open.

Senden, the 2006 champion, had a three-round total of 7-under 209 in tough, windy conditions at The Lakes.

Englishman Justin Rose, who also shot 70, was in second place, followed by Australians Matthew Jones (69), Peter Senior (69) and Kieran Pratt (70) in a tie for third, three behind Senden.

“I had a sluggish start with the hand brake on a bit, but once I got through three or four holes I was feeling good again,” said Senden, who finished runner-up to Greg Chalmers last year at The Lakes. “It was a day of trying to do the best I can and stay in position.”

NELSON MANDELA CHAMPIONSHIP: In Durban, South Africa, Morten Orum Madsen made a late charge to match Tim Clark’s 5-under-par 60 and grab a share of the first-round lead at the European Tour’s rain-delayed season-opener.

The east coast course was adjusted to a par-65 from a par-70 and reduced by about 1,600 yards after almost all the holes were under water on Friday following heavy thunderstorms. Organizers were forced to reorganize the layout to ensure play could go ahead.

The tournament was reduced to 36 holes, with the final round scheduled for today.

Norway’s Madsen, a tour newcomer, carded seven birdies and two bogeys to join Clark at the top of the leaderboard as the first event of the 2013 Race to Dubai.

THAILAND GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP: In Chon Buri, Thailand, second-round leader Charl Schwartzel had a third-round 4-under-par 68 to extend his lead over Daniel Chopra to five shots.

Schwartzel, last year’s runner up, had three birdies and an eagle to go along with a bogey for an overall 18-under 198 at Amata Spring Country Club.

He’s on track to end a victory drought that stretches back to his Masters Tournament win in 2011.

DUBAI LADIES MASTERS: In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Shanshan Feng won the Dubai Ladies Masters by five strokes after shooting 3-under-par 69 to capture her second Ladies European Tour title.

The sixth-ranked Feng had an eagle, two birdies and a bogey to total 21-under 267 at Emirates Golf Club.

Dewi Claire Schreefel (69) finished second. Caroline Masson (71) and Becky Brewerton (65) tied for third, nine shots off the pace.

SHOOTOUT: In Naples, Fla., Kenny Perry and Sean O’Hair took a two-stroke lead in the Franklin Templeton Shootout, birdieing the final six holes in better-ball play for 11-under 61.

Perry and O’Hair were 19 under overall, two strokes ahead of first-round leaders Davis Love III and Brandt Snedeker at Tiburon Golf Club. Love and Snedeker had 65.

Jason Dufner and Vijay Singh, Stewart Cink and Carl Pettersson, and Augusta native Charles Howell and Rory Sabbatini were tied for third at 15 under in the round delayed by heavy rain and wind for 1 hour, 50 minutes.


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