Laycock, Hall share Victorian Open lead
Von Nida Tour | 2009 Victorian Open | Round Three | 31 Jan 2009
Victorians Scott Laycock and Ashley Hall are tied for the lead heading into tomorrow’s final round of the 2009 Subaru Victorian Open at the Spring Valley Golf Club.
Both players finished the day on eight under par and hold a one shot buffer from fellow Victorians Craig Spence (73) and Craig Scott (65) and New South Welshman Rohan Blizard (67) with New Zealand’s Gareth Paddison (67) a further shot back on six under.
In a dramatic day where scoring proved difficult, players struggled with a changing wind that blew from a completely different direction from the first two days. None was more evident than overnight leader Heath D’Altera who dropped five shots today in the testing conditions to move to five under and sit three shots off the pace alongside Brad Andrews, Cameron Percy, Aaron Townsend and Andre Stolz.
The crowded leaderboard has 19 players within four shots of the lead but it is Laycock and Hall who will head out in tomorrow’s final group.
Laycock, the 2001 Victorian Open Champion has struggled with a wrist injury for the past 12 months and has received cortisone injections to relieve the pain. He began the day on six under and but for a bogey on 18 could have led the field alone. He shot two under 69 for the day to claim equal share of the lead and is looking forward to gunning for the title tomorrow after coming back from five shots off the pace half way through the round.
“I feel good heading out tomorrow. I feel comfortable with the way I am swinging it and hitting it so we’ll see how we go.” said the 37-year-old father of one.
“I think I was five behind at one stage. It was a different wind today. It turned the full 180 so a lot of the holes played a lot differently, longer clubs in, a couple of the par 5’s straight t downwind…but I’m pretty happy with how I went.”
“It’s a fabulous golf course. The last time I played here was in 1994 at the Australasian Tour School. I’m an idiot for not coming back more often!”
For Hall it was a rollercoaster ride in the third round as he finished on one over for the day. He dominated the opening nine holes and after 12 had broken away from the field with as much as a four stroke lead, but things unraveled quickly as he dropped three shots in four holes to reduce his lead to just one. That lead was further reduced when he bogeyed the 18th to drop back to eight under to share the lead with Laycock.
Early signs pointed toward Craig Spence who looked set to drop out of contention when he dropped four shots in his first four holes to fall to five under, but he mounted a great comeback only marred by a bogey on the dreaded 18th to finish just one shot off the lead. Spence’s solid short game and ball striking came into play on the back nine as he re-captured the form he showed earlier in the tournament.
I’m really happy with the way I handled things", said a relieved Spence after his round. “I feel like it was good to fight back but I am surprised that I wasn’t blown out of the tournament because someone usually goes low no matter what but scoring was really difficult and today it seemed like no one really went too low. I am still in there with a chance so I am thankful to that.”
“I’m excited about tomorrow. If I can hang in there I have a chance.”
Spence is tied on seven under with Sydney’s Rohan Blizard who fired a four under 67 but the big mover of the day was localman Craig Scott. Scott’s round of 6 under 65 saw him come home with four birdies on the back nine, picking up two of them on the final two holes. He moved up from T24 overnight to hold a share of third place.
Paul Sheehan, Peter Senior, Andre Stolz and James McLean are part of a group of eight players on four under.
The leading amateur is Bryden McPherson who is sitting even with the card.
Source – PGA Tour