31 Mar 2022 | Amateur golf |
#AusAm R3: Thrilling finish on the cards
by Dane Heverin
Jack Buchanan (-15) and Fiona Xu (-10) remain at the top of the Australian Amateur leaderboards after a cool and blustery day at Cranbourne Golf Club, but Joshua Greer and Justice Bosio piled on the pressure.
South Australian Buchanan holds a one stroke lead, just as he did last night, while New Zealander Xu’s lead diminished to three strokes as the leaders were left to rue late blunders.
Buchanan made bogeys at 17 and 18 when he hit both drives into the trees and had no choice but the chip-out. Xu also left more of an opening for her rivals with a bogey at 16 and a double bogey at 17.
Those slip ups were compounded by Greer and Bosio’s stunning rounds that have set up an exciting final group showdown tomorrow.
West Australian Greer (-14) is coached by Ritchie Smith - who famously works with Hannah Green and the Lee siblings - and he showed the class of those stars in his six-under round of the day that included six birdies and an eagle.
“I started off pretty slow. I had a pretty sloppy bogey on the first. I knew the first and the second were probably the hardest holes on the course today so if I got through them there were so many chances coming,” Greer said.
Greer played alongside fellow Scottish born Joondalup member Connor McKinney and the familiarity with his playing partner brought out the best in him today.
“We’re obviously comfortable together. I like playing with Connor, we play pretty similar,” he said.
“If he hits a club into the green I know it, and if it goes long, I know what club to hit.”
He now faces a huge test tomorrow - the final grouping alongside Buchanan and New Zealander James Hydes - but he is planning to take it all in his stride with a simple plan.
“Do what I’ve been doing. Make as many birdies as I can. Hopefully I make a few,” he said.
“It would mean quite a lot to win, I wouldn’t mind it. I’d take it now if you’d give it to me!”
Bosio (-7) was similarly delighted with her round where she took full advantage of some lucky breaks to shoot three-under with four birdies and an eagle.
“I actually chipped in for birdie on 17. I also holed out for eagle on 6 from 70m,” she said.
“I made some birdies on the way home and finished three-under which was pretty good considering how windy it was so I’m happy.”
The Queenslander came runner-up at the Adam Scott Junior Championship in California last month after squandering a final round lead and she is hoping that experience will hold her in good stead tomorrow.
“I learned a lot from not winning so hopefully I can take that into tomorrow and keep my head steady,” Bosio said.
Bosio and Greer, along with the other contenders, will be out to stop the leaders from making history tomorrow as no player has gone wire-to-wire to win the Australian Amateur.
The possibility of that monumental achievement is not lost on Buchanan, but he also has another motivator to get the job done tomorrow.
“It’s my birthday tomorrow as well so I think it would be a good birthday present if I won tomorrow as well,” Buchanan said.
He turns 20 tomorrow and he will again have good friend Harrison Crowe caddying for him to enjoy the occasion and maybe even give him a few points along the way.
“Harrison obviously won the NSW Open, he’s a very handy player. I’ve caddied for him a bit so it was good to have him on the bag. We get along pretty well so it was pretty chill out there all day,” Buchanan said.
“He gave me some advice here and there. He calmed me down every now and then, he’s been in this situation a lot more than I have.”
Meanwhile, Xu has a clear plan on how she can get the job done tomorrow.
“I’ll just play like today’s front nine. Try and eliminate most troubles and hopefully I can get some birdies,” she said.
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