Australian Masters: Chopra takes lead

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Sweden's Daniel Chopra shot a 7-under-par 65 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Australian Masters.

Updated: November 25, 2007 19:28 IST
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Sweden's Daniel Chopra had eight birdies and needed only 23 putts while shooting a 7-under-par 65 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Australian Masters.

Chopra, who won his first US PGA tour event in October at Florida's Ginn sur Mer Classic, has a 12-under-par total of 204 on the par-72 Huntingdale course, a layout he knows well from his frequent visits Down Under while playing on the Australasian Tour.

"I've been coming here for years, it's like a second home," said Chopra, whose only bogey Saturday was on the par-3 12th. "I haven't had one of those rounds for a while where I got everything going, and today was the day."

Kurt Barnes - who also had a 65 on Saturday - was tied for second with fellow Australian Aaron Baddeley (69 Saturday), a stroke behind Chopra, while Australian Rod Pampling (67) was three off the lead and alone in fourth.

Two-time former champion Robert Allenby, who led by a stroke after each of the first two rounds, had a 73 Saturday, including a bogey on 18, to be tied for fifth with England's Richard Finch (67) and Australian Stuart Appleby, who shot 68.

Allenby, Finch and Appleby are four strokes behind Chopra.

Rory McIlroy, the 18-year-old Northern Ireland player who turned pro in September after finishing as low amateur in the British Open, was tied for eighth after a 70, five strokes behind.

Chopra said the conditions were ideal for a good round.

"The wind was down, I needed to score," said Chopra. "My plan was to get a good start. I managed to do that, scrambled a couple and then got on a roll."

Baddeley birdied four holes in a row from the sixth to get to 11-under and a tie for the lead before he bogeyed the 12th.

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