Murdaca creates 8-shot cushion at Asia-Pacific Am

Keegan Bradley watches his tee shot on the third playoff hole during the final round of the 93rd PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club on August 14, 2011 in Johns Creek, Georgia.

Murdaca creates 8-shot cushion at Asia-Pacific Am

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Murdaca creates 8-shot cushion at Asia-Pacific Am

Third-round scores

Antonio Murdaca hit the gas Saturday at the Asia-Pacific Amateur, and will take an eight-shot lead into the final round at Royal Melbourne Golf Club’s Composite Course. Murdaca, of Australia, posted a 5-under 67 in the third round that allowed him to pull away from the field.

An invitation to the 2015 Masters is on the line for the Asia-Pacific Amateur champion, as well as the chance to qualify for the Open Championship. Murdaca’s first memory of the Masters is from a decade ago, when Tiger Woods famously chipped in.

“It would be a childhood dream, I guess,” Murdaca, 19, said of earning that invitation.

Murdaca, a two-time Australian junior champion, made four birdies and an eagle on Saturday, and only one bogey. He two-putted for his birdie at the second hole, and nearly made an albatross at the par-5 17th. Murdaca pulled a 4-iron for his second shot from 240 yards, and the ball rolled over the edge of the cup, leaving him a tap-in for eagle.

“We ended up hitting a 4-iron and just wanted to land it short of the green, (so I) just picked my target in the background there and hit the shape I wanted to, and the ball came off nicely,” he said later.

Three players trail Murdaca by eight shots, including fellow Australian Todd Sinnott, the first-round leader. China’s Cheng Jin, 16, is also in that group, along with University of Washington senior Cheng-Tsung Pan, who posted 1-under 71 on Saturday.

Pan thinks it will take a round of 67, at the least, to catch Murdaca in the final round.

“I need a really good round tomorrow,” said Pan, of Tawain. “You know with this course, it’s very hard, you can throw a couple of shots away in one hole, so there are a lot of things that can happen. I just want to make sure I’m there for it when it comes.”

Information from the Asia-Pacific Golf Federation used in this report

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