Scott falters, Millar has 54-hole lead at Australian Masters

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Matthew Millar overcame blustery winds to shoot a 3-under 68 — one of the best rounds of the day at Huntingdale — and take a one-stroke lead after three rounds at the Australian Masters.

Adam Scott, who led after the first two rounds, bogeyed his opening hole and struggled all day for a 77 and was five strokes behind. He began and ended the back nine with consecutive bogeys on 10-11 and 17-18.

Millar had a 7-under total of 206. Andrew Evans shot 70 and was in second place, followed by four players tied for third, two strokes behind: Peter Senior (68), Michael Sim (68), John Senden (71) and Matthew Guyatt (73).

American George McNeill was the highest-place non-Australian in seventh place after a 73, three strokes behind. Scott was in a group at 2-under that included American amateur Brydon DeChambeau (72).

Millar says his game is suited to Huntingdale; the traditional home of the Australian Masters which is hosting the event for the first time in seven years now the event is rotated.

"I love playing the sand-belt," he said. "I guess the golf course is not like modern-day long, long. So there's a lot of holes where I can hit driver, and if I'm playing half reasonable, I'm hitting it reasonably straight. For me, it's good, just suits my eye."

Scott won the Australian Masters in 2012 at Kingston Heath and 2013 at Royal Melbourne, but lost playoffs at Huntingdale in 2002 and 2003. If his game doesn't improve on Sunday, he could be heading to next week's Australian Open in Sydney without an elusive win at Huntingdale.

Senior, a Champions Tour regular and two-time winner of this event back in the 1990s, didn't mind the brisk southerly breeze.

"When the conditions are like this, I always give myself a little bit of a chance," Senior said. "I've been driving the ball really well and you have to do that here at Huntingdale. I managed to hole a couple of good putts on the back side."

Senior just missed gaining his full status on the Champions Tour for next year, but intends to return for what he expects will be his final year before quitting the U.S.-based seniors circuit.

"I'll get into every tournament but two next year," he said. "So, I'm going to go back to the short putter next year, so playing one more year on the Champions Tour. I've had enough of being away from home. Still enjoy the golf. Still love it. But just time's come to an end and I just feel like I want to stay at home."