18 Dec 2021 | Professional golf | Amateur golf |

Sim ready to reset for Gippsland Super 6 finale

by PGA of Australia

Michael Sim teeing off at the Gippsland Super 6
Michael Sim teeing off on the 18th at the Gippsland Super 6. Photo: Henry Peters.

Written by Tony Webeck

Michael Sim’s three-stroke advantage is now null and void yet the Queenslander is ready to reset for the match play section of the Gippsland Super 6 at Warragul Country Club.

After three rounds of stroke play the top 24 qualifiers for Sunday’s series of six-hole matches has been determined, Sim leading the top eight who will receive a round one bye.

Three birdies in the space of four holes from the 10th at the tricky Warragul Country Club layout provided the cornerstone of Sim’s third round of five-under 65 and a 16-under par total through 54 holes.

Round one leader Andrew Dodt (67) finished outright second at 13-under par followed by 2020 Victorian PGA champion Chris Wood, who played the back nine in three-over 39 for a score of one-over 71 to finish at 11-under.

The top eight was completed with five players who finished level at nine-under par, Queensland’s Jake McLeod posting the round of the day – six-under 64 – to join Bryden Macpherson (66), Daniel Beckmann (68), Shae Wools-Cobb (68) and Kade McBride (68) in the second round.

Defending ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner Brad Kennedy, Blitz Golf guru Matthew Millar, defending champion Marcus Fraser and two-time Australian Open champion Peter Lonard were among the big names to miss out on what promises to be an unpredictable and absorbing day of golf on Sunday.

Play will begin early from 6.45am to avoid the worst of the weather expected Sunday afternoon and Sim has accepted the fact that it is effectively the start of a brand new tournament.

“I played really well. Putted really well, drove it pretty straight but it’s just a different feeling now. Kind of like a new tournament starting tomorrow,” said Sim.

“But we knew that coming in and I’m looking forward to it.

“I had a three-shot lead after three rounds and that doesn’t really matter now.

“I was thinking about what the top-eight number might be and just tried to get out of that and just play golf.

“I’ll qualify one – not sure who I’ll play – but get a little bit of a sleep-in.

“It’s just six holes match play now. It will be an exciting format for the fans, for the gallery and for the sponsors and hopefully it will be a good finish tomorrow.”

The 2005 Western Australian Amateur Match Play champion, Sim is no stranger to the head-to-head format and his all-around class and strong showing first-up last week at the Victorian PGA Championship makes him the popular pick heading into Sunday.

The Warragul layout is vastly different to the Moonah Links Open Course where Sim finished tied for 11th last week but it is one where mistakes can be punished and controlled aggression is rewarded.

“The wind really came up from the second hole and it was quite tricky out there,” Sim added.

“It wasn’t supposed to switch until about 4 o’clock this afternoon and then it switched on about the fifth hole.

“Moonah is linksy and exposed and this is a short, parkland-type course but it was tricky out there, especially as the warmer weather came in yesterday and today.

“You still had to be on top of your game and you could see there was a few guys leaking a few shots late.”

As the top-eight enjoy a direct passage through to round two the remaining 16 players to qualify will face off for the chance to advance.

The match-up between Blitz Golf Howlong champion Daniel Gale and two-time New Zealand Open winner Michael Hendry will be one of the highlights of round one along with the all-Victorian match between TPS Sydney victor Andrew Martin and 2019 NZ Open champion Zach Murray and Jordan Zunic and Tim Hart going head-to-head.

Round 1 draw

6.45am Jackson Bugdalski v Jack Thompson 6.53am Jack Buchanan (a) v Brett Rankin 7.01am Rohan Blizard v James Marchesani 7.09am Lawry Flynn v Ben Campbell 7.17am Daniel Gale v Michael Hendry 7.25am Andrew Martin v Zach Murray 7.33am Dimitrios Papadatos v Ben Wharton 7.41am Jordan Zunic v Tim Hart

Follow all the action at pga.org.au.

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