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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