Sheehan by two at Vic Open
BY Anthony Powter | Australasian PGA Tour | 2011 Victorian Open | Round Three | 09 Jan 2011
Paul Sheehan has fired rounds of 69-68-67 to be at 9-under-par for a two stroke buffer over Matthew Griffin at the Victorian Open being played at Spring Valley Golf Club.
Sheehan started the third round two behind overnight leader Steve Jones and made his move with a birdie blitz over the back nine at Spring Valley which included five brides and a bogey to record his 4-under-par round for the day.
Griffin in contrast had the day’s second low round with a 5-under-par 66, with a bogey on the par-4 16th his only blemish.
Steve Jones, who enjoyed a two stroke lead at the half-way stage, struggled a little today firing a 2-over-par 73 to be in a tie for 3rd with Aaron Townsend at 5-under-par, after Townsend fired the day’s best score with a sizzling 6-under-par, 65.
Sheehan, who’s a multiple winner on the Japan Tour, was pleased with this third round form which he hopes he can carry through to the last day.
“I was really happy with the way I played today, four under was a good score and I went out there and did what I had to do,” he said.
“I putted also really well today, my stroke felt good. Combine that with they way that I was able to hit a lot of greens on the back nine which gave myself a chance out there it was a pleasing result for me.”
Originally from Coffs Harbour but now a resident of Victoria, Sheehan last won in 2006 on the Nationwide Tour where he pipped Michael Sim on the second play-off hole to win the Jacob’s Creek Classic which added to his win the same year in Japan with the Japan Open Golf Championship. He’s enjoyed considerable success in Japan and Sheehan is a player that’s hard to beat once he has his head in front in a tournament.
Griffin, who lead after the opening round of the 2010 Australian Open at the Lakes Golf course in Sydney after firing a 7 under par 65, is in search of his maiden Australasian Tour victory and has showed signs of brilliance this Australian summer. The 28-year-old holds an Asian Tour card and has one professional title to his name, the 2009 Fiji Open.
A talented player who’s capable of low scoring, Griffin will certainly be taking the challenge up to Sheehan during tomorrow’s final round. The Melbournian quietly goes about his business combining a deathly precision as well as consistency with his game. Griffin knows the Spring Valley layout well and was a member of the victorious 2008 Victorian Pennant team who defeated Yarra Yarra in the Metropolitan Group 1 Pennant Final at Spring Valley.
Townsend is another that should not be discounted at this tournament and today’s peerless display of golf illustrates what the Novocastrian is capable of producing. A multiple winner on the Australasian Tour with the 2008 NSW Open and 2009 NSW PGA Championships, Townsend can easily make up the four stroke deficit currently with Sheehan.
Jones, however, will have to bounce back following his struggles today with his 2-over-par round. He never looked comfortable on the course which was compounded by a triple bogey on the par 4 8th, and there were also some errant drives from the tee. Despite the day’s woes, Jones is of the ilk that can rebound and he’s certainly not out of this tournament which has effectively developed into a four man race for the championship title.
It sets the stage for a thrilling final day at the Victorian Open with four of our most exciting players doing batter to claim the first tournament of the year on the Australasian Tour.
Sheehan will take some stopping and his consistency this week has been outstanding.
Then again the young-guns of Griffin, Townsend and Jones are all hungry for another title and are sure to go out there tomorrow to place the pressure on the leader.