Tauranga pro Kieran Muir was hoping to make a move up the leaderboard on day three of the Fiji International at Natadola Bay.
He did that with a two-under round of 70 to finish in 1-over and give himself a chance to make some serious money on the final day if he can get his putter running hot.
But the undoubted highlight of his third round was a rare hole in one at the 164 metre par three which he aced with a sweetly hit eighth iron.
Remarkably, it was the third hole in one at the second hole in the tournament so far, with one yesterday and another by Thailand’s Thitiphun Chuayprakong just 15 minutes before Muir struck.
Muir’s perfectly struck shot flew straight into the cup to give the spectators behind the green a thrill.
“It was a slam dunk, which is great,” says Muir.
“I had some birdies that got away from me but then I had a couple of putts towards the end where I had to hole putts for par which I did. It was a much better day and I putted really good today, which was nice.”
Muir started the day 14 shots behind the leader Ben Campbell and made up five shots in his third round.
He is after a bigger move on the final round.
“If I play well it is all about momentum. If you come away for a week and are working on something in particular and that comes off, you then build momentum from there, you are meeting objectives and building towards a goal.
“You can’t always control what is happening around you but it is nice to play well to keep momentum for Order of Merit. It gives you confidence going into the next one.”
Another Tauranga-based pro Mark Brown relished the opportunity to play with four-time Major winner Ernie Els.
Brown outshone his illustrious playing partner with two birdies in his opening three holes and finished with a solid 71 to be inside the top 20 at 1-under.
Four-time Major winner Ernie Els shot 69 to be right in the mix at 5-under and a serious threat in Sunday’s final round.
Overnight leader Ben Campbell had a tough day, shooting 77 to slip from the lead but he is still just two off the pace set by Indian Gaganjeet Bhullar.