Cameron Jones has poked his nose in front with a round to go at the Taranaki Open, sitting a shot ahead of Michael Hendry, while it’s anyone’s guess who will walk away with the Jennian Homes Trophy.

After firing 67 and 70 in the opening two rounds, the North Harbour professional capitalised on the calm conditions on moving day to shoot a four-under 68 to be 11-under-par going into the final round tomorrow.

The 29-year-old got off to a rapid start and established a three-shot buffer midway through the front, following birdies at two, four, five, and seven. He bogeyed the ninth to make the turn in three-under.

The birdies seemed to dry up on the back nine as he made eight straight pars before getting home in two shots on the par 5 finishing hole. He two-putted from over 50 feet to close with a birdie and hold a slender one-stroke lead heading into tomorrow’s final round.

Jones says he’s excited at the prospect of capturing his maiden Jennian Homes Charles Tour title.

“I felt like I was in control of my ball for the most part of today. I struggled a bit with the pace of the greens and gave myself a lot of ten to 20-footers that I couldn’t quite convert, but it was nice to finish by holing a 12-footer on the last and get a bit of momentum heading into tomorrow.

“It would mean a lot [to win].

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I certainly didn’t expect to be playing like this coming into this week, so everything that comes tomorrow is just a bonus. Golf has been good for me at the moment, so I’m just enjoying being out there, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.”

He’ll need to fend off several players nipping at his heels behind him, one of which is multiple-time Jennian Homes Charles Tour winner Michael Hendry.

Hendry began the day tied with Jones but got off to a slow start, going out in one over following a bogey, a double, and a couple of birdies.

The 43-year-old turned the page over the back nine, finishing with a barrage of birdies.

He birdied ten, 13, 15, 17, and 18, with a bogey on 11 to come home in four under to sign for a three under 69. He says that despite the scratchy round, he’s in a great position heading into Sunday.

“I found it quite difficult to assess the wind because it was much lighter; it was weird.

“Obviously, the last couple of days, it’s been really strong, and it was a lot more reliable as it was always going to have an effect, whereas today it was a little more unpredictable, and it changed halfway through the round.

“It was tricky enough today despite it not blowing sideways like it did yesterday and the day before. I didn’t hit the ball as well, but thankfully, I managed to pull myself together over the back nine and make a few birdies which helped me shoot a half-decent score.”

A shot back of Hendry is Josh Geary, who has plenty to play for tomorrow.

Geary carded a third round of 67 to climb into solo third and sneak into the final group just a couple of shots back at nine under.

He will not only be playing for his eighth Jennian Homes Charles Tour title but the season-long Jennian Homes Trophy as well.

A victory tomorrow will be enough for him to capture the Jennian Homes Trophy, as he sits 190 points behind local amateur and New Zealand representative Sam Jones.

He says he’ll need to bring his A-game, as the two leaders will be hard to catch.

“I can’t get too carried away. I just have to try and win this golf tournament and also get out of my own way by not thinking about it too much. I’m just going to keep my head down and get stuck in and focus on what I can control tomorrow.

“It would cap off a nice year with a few wins back home. Any trophy is getting harder to win these days, so it’s always nice to get one when you can.”

The current Jennian Homes Trophy leader, Sam Jones, sits three shots back of Geary in fourth place at six-under-par.

Jones has accumulated 1,395 points over the Jennian Homes Charles Tour season to lead Geary by 190 points.

With plenty on the line for the local tomorrow, he says he will focus on the things that he can control.

“I’ll approach tomorrow the same as any other round. I need to free myself up a little bit because I’ve been a little bit tight over a couple of tee shots and not committing to certain shots in the wind. A bit more commitment tomorrow would be good.

“I’m probably going to need to shoot about eight under tomorrow. Cam and Mike are at 11 and ten under respectively, so it’s up to them really. If they play well, they’re going to win.

“I’m going to need to shoot a real low one tomorrow.”