Kakazu three off the pace in New Zealand

Kakazu three off the pace in New Zealand

Terumiuchi Kakazu remains a strong contender for the title of the New Zealand Open, presented by Sky Sport, heading into the final round on Sunday.


Kakazu, who has yet to win a tournament since turning pro 12 years ago, scored a second straight five-under-par 66 to move just three strokes behind Australia's Shae Wools-Cobb ahead of the deciding day.


Kakazu had six birdies against a lone bogey, finishing with a three-day total of 14-under-par 199, which puts him in solo third position. He trails second-placed Christopher Wood, also from Australia, by just one shot.


If Kakazu goes on to win, he will become the first-ever Japanese winner in the tournament, which began in 1907.


"I wonder what it would be like to win the first championship overseas? Isn't that cool, I wonder?" said Kakazu, whose career-best finish was tying for second at the 2019 ANA Open.


"This kind of opportunity doesn't come often, so I'm really pumped up! I'm going to give the title a shot!"


Australian JGTO veteran Brendan Jones emerged as the biggest mover of the day, posting a bogey-free 62 to shoot up from tied-51st to tied-fourth.


After a lacklustre second-round effort, Tomoyo Ikemura put himself back in the running with a 66 to sit in a three-way tie for seventh on 12-under-par 201, along with Thailand's Gunn Charoenkul.


Ryosuke Kinoshita was the third best-ranked Japanese player on 203 following a 68, while Ren Yonezawa is a further two shots back on eight-under in joint 22nd.


Yosuke Asaji (70), Jinichiro Kozuma (71), and Mikiya Akutsu (71) are all tied for 31st on 206, while Mikumu Horikawa signed for a 69 to be tied for 42nd on 207.