Champion Hawke's Bay amateur golfer Stuart Duff is on the cusp of helping New Zealand reign supreme at the Asia-Pacific Senior Amateur Championship in Japan today.
Duff is one of six in a Kiwi team competing at the Tom Watson Golf Course in Miyazaki.
The Lindisfarne College teacher was tied for fifth in the individual rankings after carding 75 and 73 in two rounds of the 54-hole stroke-play event at the par-72 course.
New Zealand are second after sitting 10 shots behind leaders Australia in the opening round on Wednesday before clawing their way back to three shots adrift after the second round yesterday.
Australia teed off this morning for the final round with a two-round 592. New Zealand were on 595, Korea 596 and the hosts are on 599. Only the top four scores are counted.
"He's played very steady," said Hastings PGA professional Brian Doyle, who coaches former Central Districts Stags cricketer and was in contact with him via text messages.
Duff, who was crowned the national senior champion in February, only three putts in his first round but his consistency is reflected in holing one birdie in the second round to be four over par overall.
Doyle said the "couch" grass was testing the Duff's mettle.
"With the pace of the greens he's finding it a little difficult to be a little aggressive on his longer putts," he said of the grass, which he found difficult for chipping as well around other global courses.
"It seems to absorb the ball a little bit and you never quite know how it's going to react on the bounce."
Greg Rhodes, of Australia, and Brent Paterson, of New Zealand, are individual leaders on one-over par after two rounds.
Doyle said Duff played day one with a Pakistan representative who was lacking in the course etiquette department.
"It took them five hours to finish a round in a kart," he said.
The Aussies are on a three-peat.