29 May 2022 | Professional golf |

Quayle in search of career-changer

by PGA of Australia

Anthony Quayle Japan image
Anthony Quayle on his way to a strong lead in Japan yesterday. Photo: JGTO

By Tony Webeck

Queensland’s Anthony Quayle will take a four-stroke lead into the final round of the Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open as he chases a breakthrough Japan Golf Tour title and a spot in The Open Championship in July.

The 27-year-old who is based at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast carded a three-under-par 69 on day three at the JFE Setonaikai Golf Club for a 54-hole total of 12-under-par, four clear of fellow Queenslander Brad Kennedy (71) and the Japanese trio of Shintaro Kobayashi (68), Shingo Katayama (70) and Ryuichi Oiwa (73).

The Queensland PGA champion in January, Quayle endured a roller-coaster start with a birdie-bogey-birdie run from the second hole but further birdies at seven and 10 saw him break away from the congested leaderboard.

As the rest of the field struggled in the blustery conditions, a bogey on 14 did little to quell Quayle’s momentum, a birdie at 15 restoring his healthy advantage heading into Sunday’s final round.

Although yet to win in Japan, Quayle believes his previous victories on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia will hold him in good stead coming down the stretch.

“Just a few months back I had a six-shot lead going into the last round. So, it wasn’t too long ago that I was in the same position,” said Quayle.

“I have not won in Japan before, but I have won two titles in Australia. They (winning experiences) will allow me to be confident as I have been in this position, and won from this position before.

“It definitely helps.”

One of only two players to better 70 on Saturday, Quayle stressed the importance of staying patient as he reaps the rewards of staying level-headed.

“I just stayed patient, although the wind was a little bit tricky,” Quayle admitted.

“I gave myself more chances to probably shoot a better score, and I also saved myself from a couple of situations.

“I feel like my game is good enough to win at a very high level. The thing I have to focus on is making sure I stay patient, and I don’t get too ahead of myself like getting too angry, too upset or too happy, just stay in the middle.”

With a start at the 150th Open at St Andrews also within sights, Quayle has vowed not to get carried away.

“I think what I’m going to try to do tomorrow is win this golf tournament, and whatever happens,” he said of the added incentive of a major championship debut.

“I don’t think I’m going to be worrying about anything else. All I need to do is to stay in control of my emotion and try to go out there and shoot the best score tomorrow.”

Kennedy, meanwhile, was left kicking himself after being pegged back by three bogeys in the closing stretch.

To his credit, he managed to pull one back to sit in a tie for second place and put himself on the fringe of contention.

Earlier, the 47-year-old enjoyed a solid start by trading four birdies against a lone bogey in his first seven holes.

“I didn’t do a lot wrong. I played really nicely in the wind,” said Kennedy, who can also secure a start at The Open with a top-four finish.

“It was tricky. The breeze was switching. I just need to take some positives out of it and come back stronger tomorrow.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve got to play twice as good as Anthony in front.

“I’ve got to expect myself to shoot five or six-under to put the pressure on him.

“Plenty to play for but I’ll be out there just focusing on my game tomorrow. If I can do that well, then I feel like I can be at my best.”

Another Queenslander is also in contention at the DP World Tour’s Dutch Open in the Netherlands.

An eagle at the par-5 fourth was the centrepiece of a four-hole stretch that Scott Hend played in five-under on his way to a third round of four-under 68 to sit just one shot off the lead.

With three spots to The Open up for grabs, Hend and in-form Kiwi Ryan Fox are both at nine-under par ahead of Sunday’s final round, one shot back of Frenchman Victor Perez and Englishman Matt Wallace and level with Italy’s Guido Migliozzi and Swede Sebastian Soderberg.

A second round of 65 for the tournament has Aaron Baddeley in a share of fifth and three shots off the lead at the Korn Ferry Tour’s NV5 Invitational while West Australian Whitney Hillier (72) will begin the final round of the Belgian Ladies Open in a tie for 10th.

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