Mason Lee is looking to go wire-to-wire and win the biggest title of his career – the Wallace Development NZPGA Championship.

The Auckland professional has led after every day of the PGA of New Zealand’s marquee event, firing rounds of 65, 66, and 72 at Hastings Golf Club to lead by a shot over three players at 13-under-par, including the 2019 champion Kazuma Kobori.

The wind played havoc at points this afternoon, with 21 of the 51 players who made the cut carding over par rounds. Ten players are within four shots of the lead, including Jared Edwards who carded the day’s best round alongside Jayden Ford, who moved 25 places up the leaderboard to be the day’s big mover.

The overnight leader, Lee, got off to a challenging start following his opening birdie, trading bogeys with another birdie to go out in a couple over. However, he found his stride as the wind increased, adding two further birdies coming home at the 12th and 16th holes.

The stage one trainee says he’s proud of how he fought back in harsh conditions.

“Today was really tough with the wind getting up. I wasn’t hitting my shots as well as the first two days, but I found my rhythm over the back nine and managed to turn things around. I feel confident heading into tomorrow – I just need to play my game and get the job done.”

A victory tomorrow isn’t something the Royal Auckland and Grange player is thinking about. He says his game plan is to approach tomorrow’s final round the same as he approaches any other round of golf, and he believes he’s already had a successful week.

“A win is a win. I’ve done really well until here, but it’s not something I’m thinking about. I’m doing my traineeship, so to be leading heading into tomorrow is awesome.”

He’ll need to hold off three-time PGA Tour of Australasia winner and past champion Kazuma Kobori.

Today’s conditions suited Kobori’s game to a tee, reflected in his bogey-free third round of 68. Following his opening two rounds of 67 and 69, Kobori began his third round with a birdie at the first before making eight straight pars to close out his front nine. He then made three birdies on the trot to tie the lead at 12-under early in his back nine and parred his way back to the clubhouse to share second place.

Kobori says he’s keen to get his hands on the trophy he held as an amateur in 2019.

“I’m pretty happy with how I played. I hit the ball much better – bogey-free isn’t bad at all today because the wind was blowing. I’ll take a round like today any day of the week.

“It’s a cool trophy, and it was my first professional win. I wasn’t a professional when I won, so to get the trophy back as a professional would be pretty cool.”

Pieter Zwart is among the three players a shot behind Lee. He leads the Cello NZPGA Club Professional Championship by eight over Steven Heyes, with Dongwoo Kang and Richard Lee hovering at one-under and even-par respectively.

The Waitangi Golf Club professional has shot 68, 67, and 69 to dominate the club professional field. However, like the tournament leader, winning tomorrow isn’t something he’s allowing himself to think about yet.

“It was pretty solid today – I made one little mistake on the first, but I was bogey-free for the next 17 holes. I controlled the golf ball in the wind really nicely – I was able to hit the ball low and high when I needed to.

“Winning the Cello NZPGA Club Championship would be some great kudos amongst my peers. It shows that I can still get it around every now and then. It’s not something I’m focussing on – if I play well, winning will be a by-product.”

Auckland amateur Robby Turnbull is also a shot further back, with former Auckland representative turned professional Jared Edwards sitting solo fifth at 11-under.

The final round gets underway tomorrow at 8am.

Wallace Developments NZPGA Championship live scoring