July 15, 2006

Australian Senden takes lead in John Deere Classic

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Australian John Senden fired a
seven-under 67 to take a three-shot lead after three rounds of
the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois, on Saturday.

Senden posted seven birdies during his bogey-free round to
grab the spotlight at the event, which had been held by
American teenager Michelle Wie.

Wie, who was trying to make her first cut in a PGA
tournament, withdrew on Friday because of heat exhaustion.

All eyes will be on 35-year-old Brisbane native Senden on
Sunday as he attempts to win his first PGA Tour event and
qualify for the British Open.

"I'm going to go out there tomorrow and feel really good
about myself," Senden told reporters after his second 64 of the
tournament left him at 197 after three rounds, 16 under par.

That was good for a two-shot lead over Americans Heath
Slocum and Patrick Sheehan, who both shot third round 66s to be
tied at 13-under 200.

Five other golfers were another shot back at 12-under 201,
including second round leader Joe Ogilvie, who fired a third
round 69.

"I probably will be nervous," Senden admitted. "I haven't
held the lead after three rounds, so I'm really looking forward
to the challenge. You know, it'll be a fun day."

Senden overcame scorching temperatures to pull three shots
clear of the field with virtually a mistake free round. Alex
Cejka, Steve Jones, J.P. Hayes and Daniel Chopra were 12 under
along with Ogilvie.

(Writing by Roger Lajoie in Toronto)