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Jeffress, Higginbottom lead golf Fiji International

Jake Higginbottom of Australia hits a shot on day three of the Fiji International golf tournament at the Natadola Bay Championship golf course in Nadi, on August 16, 2014

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Australian Steve Jeffress joined compatriot Jake Higginbottom at the head of the Fiji International after the third round on Saturday.

Jeffress shot a three-under-par 69 while Higginbottom recovered from a mid-round slump to eagle the 17th for both to finish eight under for the tournament.

Another Australian Andrew Dodt was two strokes back after coming in with a 71 on another blustery and difficult day in the inaugural US$1.0 million tournament.

Fijian star Vijay Singh, who designed the coastal Natadola Bay course, fired a 70 to be tied for 15th at one over for the tournament.

Higginbottom led by three at the turn before a double-bogey and bogey as he started the homeward nine.

But the 20-year-old showed considerable maturity over the closing holes with a birdie on the par-four 16th followed by the eagle.

"I kept fighting, it was pretty brutal out there. It was nice to finish well and still be in the lead at the end of the day," Higginbottom said.

"This is what we play golf for. Obviously we want to be in contention going into the final round."

Three-time Major winner Singh shot his best round of the week despite the elements.

"You have to be careful on this course. There is so much wind it kind of puts you on the defence all the time. You need to control the ball flight. I did the best I can and hopefully I can go out tomorrow and let it go a bit more," he said.

New Zealander David Smail fired a 67, the best round of the day, to move into eighth place while two of the tournament's other star players, China's Liang Wenchong and Indian Anirban Lahiri are tied for 20th, on two over, after carding 75s.

Three-time Major winner, 57-year-old Nick Price, had a 73 to be over par for the tournament in a tie for 35th.

Leading third-round scores (Australian unless stated)

208 - Steve Jeffress 69-70-69, Jake Higginbottom 68-69-71

210 - Andrew Dodt 68-71-71

211 - Brad Kennedy 70-71-70

212 - Hur In-Hoi (KOR) 70-72-70, Michael Sim 71-70-71, Cameron Smith 71-68-73

214 - David Smail (NZL) 76-71-67

215 - Terry Pilkadaris 70-76-69, Ryan Fox (NZL) 69-76-70, Nick Cullen 70-72-73

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