Harold Varner III uses 2 late eagles to position self for 1st Euro Tour win

Harold Varner III uses 2 late eagles to position self for 1st Euro Tour win

Euro Tour

Harold Varner III uses 2 late eagles to position self for 1st Euro Tour win

Harold Varner III stands on the verge of his first European Tour win, in only his second regular European tour event. The former East Carolina player heads into the final round of the Australian PGA Championship tied for second place with Ashley Hall, just two shots behind leader Andrew Dodt.

The 26-year-old Akron, Ohio, native is looking to make up for the disappointment of finishing runner-up in last year’s Australian PGA. He’ll be hoping to replicate the fireworks of his third round to help him to victory.

Varner, who punctuated his rookie season on the PGA Tour this season by finishing 75th in the FedEx Cup standings, made two eagles in his final four holes to record a 5-under 67. He is 12 under through 54 holes.

“I finished amazingly well,” said Varner, who played with Adam Scott in the third round. “Eagles are always good, and I had two in the last four. I got a little lucky on the 17th, because it hit the pin and went in when it could just as easily bounced off the green. My round was almost the reverse of Adam’s, because he had a really good front nine then I played well on the back nine.”

Varner lost last year’s Australian PGA in a three-man playoff with Australian Nathan Holman and Dylan Frittelli of South Africa. (Holman won the playoff.) Varner had four top-10 finishes on the 2015-16 PGA Tour schedule, including a fifth place showing at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

Dodt returned a 2-under 70 to maintain the two-shot lead he started the day with.

“It was really solid again, I’m really happy with how I’m swinging it, and I’m happy with my mental processes,” Dodt said. “I feel really comfortable out there, even in the wind and especially on the greens. I drove really well again today, so hopefully that can continue tomorrow.

“My two wins on the European Tour have been from behind, so this position is new to me, but I’m enjoying it. I’m really trying to embrace it and enjoy my time out there on the course.

“It would be one of my biggest achievements to win here this week. I’ve thought about it a couple of times this week. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, but it would be huge. All the top guys have won the Australian PGA, so it would be nice to put my name alongside theirs on the trophy.”

Scott returned a second consecutive 4-under 68 and lies in joint fourth place with John Senden. His score should have been better.

“I hit two in the water on the back nine, so there’s no escaping that,” said the world No. 7. “After such a good front nine I kind of stalled my way in, but I’m still in there.”

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