24 Mar 2022 | Amateur golf |
Amateur stars descend on Royal Adelaide
by Dane Heverin
Round 3 update
Two course records lit up Royal Adelaide on Thursday afternoon as West Australian Connor McKinney stormed to the lead with a nine-under round of 63, while New Zealand's Fiona Xu's seven-under 66 matched the previous women's course record.
McKinney now sits four strokes clear of South Australian and reigning Order of Merit champion Jack Buchanan at 16-under for the tournament.
Xu's incredible efforts were not to capture the lead as South Australian Caitlin Peirce maintains her stranglehold over the field with a three shot lead at 13-under.
A stunning final day is now on the cards with the leaders looking to hold on and the chasing pack attempting to produce something special to hoist the trophy a loft.
A strong field has converged on Royal Adelaide Golf Club this week for the South Australian Amateur Classic and the Rene Erichsen Salver with vital Order of Merit points up for grabs.
In the men's, reigning Order of Merit champion and Adelaide local Jack Buchanan will be one to watch this week as he attempts to put the pressure on New South Welshman Chris Fan, who currently sits atop of the Order of Merit standings.
Fan is also teeing it up this week and has the opportunity to extend lead. The likelihood of that has been boosted by the withdrawal of NSW Open champion Harrison Crowe who sits in second place in the standings.
Toby Walker, currently fifth in the standings, will try to make a big charge and the likes of defending champion Harry Bolton and Riversdale Cup winner Max Ford will also be ones to keep an eye on.
In the Rene Erichsen Salver field, Kelsey Bennett will be looking to bring her impressive form on the WPGA Tour of Australasia back to the amateur circuit.
Bennett, who won three amateur tournaments last year, recorded top-20 finishes at the Vic Open and TPS Victoria this summer, but her best performance came at most the recent Webex Players Series event in the Hunter Valley where she came tied 10th.
She is not the only well credentialed player teeing it up this week however.
Sydneysider Belinda Ji is currently top of the Order of Merit standing and will be looking to extend her lead from Jeneath Wong and Keeley Max, who are both absentees this week.
Queenslander Justice Bosio came runner-up at the Adam Scott Junior Championship in California last month, while local favourite Caitlin Peirce has burst onto the amateur scene this summer with two victories and three top-five finishes.
Sarah Wilson, who has been playing professional events alongside Bennett as part of the WPGA Tour of Australasia’s Future Tour Affiliation Membership, will be another to keep an eye on.
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