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Matt Jones increases Australian Open lead to 3 strokes

Matt Jones coped best with difficult afternoon conditions Saturday at the Australian Open for a 3-under 68 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round.

Jones, who led by one stroke after the second round, had a three-round total of 13-under 200 at The Australian Golf Club. American Cameron Tringale was in second after a 69.

Japanese amateur Takumi Kayana and Louis Oosthuizen, who both shot 70, and Paul Casey, who had a 71, were tied for third at 9-under, four strokes behind.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, left, waits to play his second shot on the 6th hole during the second round of the Australian Open golf tournament in Sydney, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (AP PhotoRick Rycroft)

Marc Leishman shot 70 and was tied for eighth, six behind Jones.

"Tough greens, you really fought your way around today," Leishman said. “It was a tricky wind and I didn’t get off to the best start, a couple over through 10 but fought pretty hard, made a couple of putts there on the back nine. I think the course is getting firmer and tougher, especially if the wind stays like this.”

Kanaya, the world No. 1 amateur, had some good fortune along the way. On the par-3 15th, his birdie putt from off the green sat on the lip of he hole, and Kanaya buried his head in his hands for a few seconds thinking he'd missed.

But when the crowd roared, he looked up to see that the ball had dropped, and he waved his hat to the crowd as he retrieved the ball from the hole.

He bogeyed the 17th but had a birdie on 18 to stay close to Jones.

The Australian Open is the first qualifying tournament for next year's British Open to be held from July 16-19 at Royal St. George's. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and ties at the Australian Open who are not already exempt will qualify.

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