22 Feb 2020 | Queensland Open |

Swoopers launch to Open lead

by Martin Blake

Anthony Quayle_image

The leaders came back to the field and the lurkers came out of the pack on day three of the Isuzu Queensland Open, leaving a wide open finish to be played out tomorrow at Pelican Waters.

Three players – New Zealander James Anstiss, Queenslander Anthony Quayle and South Australian amateur Jack Thompson – hold the lead at 13-under through three rounds, all going sub-par on Saturday.

But the remarkable fact was that the last group in round three – David Bransdon, Brad Kennedy and Josh Armstrong – all gave up ground. Bransdon had a 73, Armstrong a 74 and Kennedy a 75, pushing them back into the pack.

Aside from the leading trio Western Australian Jarryd Felton and New South Welshman Jake Higginbottom at 12-under are just a shot from the lead and in with a strong chance tomorrow.

At 10-under par alongside Victorian Matias Sanchez, former champion Bransdon has some work to do in the final round, three shots back.

Quayle, 25, will likely go in as the favourite with his good form on the Japanese tour and his tied-15th finish at the ISPS Handa Vic Open. He would love a win in his home state tomorrow.

“If I play how I did the last three days, I think it’s either going to be a winning score or pretty close to it,” he said. “I have to try and enjoy myself out there. I’ve been in the last group or the second-last group, this is the third tournament in a row. I’ve given myself a chance.”

Anstiss, 24, from Queenstown, is seeking his first win. His day began with a bad tee shot, and ended with a bogey, but in between he was brilliant.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen after my first tee shot, lost ball,’’ he said. “I was heading back in a cart to hit my third (shot) off the first, so 66 I’ll take. It was pretty good.”

Thompson, 21, originally from Port Lincoln, plays out of The Grange in Adelaide and is one of this country’s best amateurs. But he surprised himself with his 68 on Saturday.

“I’d like to say I thought I was going to do well and up there, but probably not,” he said. “Probably not to be 13-under and tied for the lead.’’

Thompson won the 2018 men’s Riversdale Cup and is rapt to be in contention.

“I’ve been playing well,” he said. “It’s nice to finally put it into a pro event. I’ve played a few now, a few good finishes. It’s nice to be up the top. I’m stoked.

“It’s my first final group in a pro event. I’m ready for the challenge and what it brings.”


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