18 Jan 2024 | Amateur golf |
#AusAm: Croker poised for his biggest win
by Patrick Taylor
Queenslander Quinn Croker has navigated his way through windy conditions to shoot his second straight 6-under 64 in the third round of the adidas Australian Amateur at Yarra Yarra today. The 21-year-old is 11-under for the tournament, and heads into tomorrow's final round with a four-shot lead over his closest challenger, Victorian Phoenix Campbell. Playing in the final group today, Croker birdied the first and bogeyed the second. With five straight pars to follow, the wind looked to be defending the Yarra Yarra course well. Four straight birdies from holes eight through 11, followed by another two on 13 and 14, Croker showed he had the offence to match. "I happened to string a couple of good shots together, and put some good putts on some lines that I quite liked," Croker said of his string of birdies after the somewhat slow start. "You get out there and you're like 'oh it's blowing, so I'll just aim right side of the fairway’, and all of sudden your ball is in the left trees. "For me I'm taking lines over trees just to hit the fairway, or having to really flight shots down which isn't normal for me." Making seven birdies is obviously an important factor when trying to go low, but Croker also made some incredible up-and-downs to save par. "They're the confidence ones, they keep things going," he said. Even with his four-shot lead, Croker knows Campbell, a Yarra Yarra member and course record holder, will but hot on his tail, and is excited for the challenge. "It's going to be fun," he said. "He's obviously going to feel pretty comfortable around the golf course and the shots that set up tomorrow. "I'm going to have to probably bring my A-game to see if I can stay ahead of him after the 72." Campbell himself also had an impressive day at his home club, with a 4-under 66 to climb a number of spots up the leaderboard. The local holds the course record at Yarra, firing a 63 in the recent Sandbelt Invitational, and may need something close to that number tomorrow to catch Croker. With Campbell solo second at 7-under, three players are tied third at 5-under, with Aussie pair Jordan Doull and Abel Eduard joined by American Noah Kent. Kiwi Mitchell Kale, who was leading after two rounds, had a tough day in the wind but is still within reach at 3-under.
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