04 Jun 2022 | Professional golf |
Smyth's big opportunity on Asian Tour
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
New South Welshman Travis Smyth believes he has never had a better chance for a breakthrough win as a professional as he edged one-stroke clear at the Asian Tour’s International Series England.
The South Coast native shot five-under 66 in the third round at Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort near Newcastle to lead by one from from Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana (65), Zimbabwean Scott Vincent (69) and Korean Joohyung Kim (70).
South African Justin Harding, joint overnight leader with Kim, carded a 71 and is two off the lead.
Winner of the 2017 Northern Territory PGA Championship as an amateur, the 27-year-old is still chasing that first victory as a professional.
He has three top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour but has never featured in the final group, ready to embrace the pressure of trying to hold off the chasing pack.
“I definitely think I can win. I don’t know how I’m going to do it – but it’s going to be exciting,” said Smyth, who has finished top-15 in three of his past four starts.
“This is the best chance that I’ve had on the Asian Tour to win, so I cannot wait to get out there.
“Today, I knew I was up there early on because I started pretty well. I’m hoping tomorrow I feel like I did today.”
The crunch moment for Smyth came at the par-three 17th where an errant 6-iron left him in all sorts of trouble on the edge of the penalty area right of the green.
“It was a terrible shot, Smyth conceded.
“I got way ahead of it, left the face open and it went way right. I was inside the hazard line – a foot away from the little ditch, so very lucky.”
He was still partially blocked out but knocked a chip to the front of the green before draining a 33-footer. The great escape was proof indeed that it was his day.
“I was thinking, Make four,” Smyth added. “It was pretty obvious to go left of the tree, hit it to the front of the green, two-putt – and I holed it!”
In a field boasting 22 Australians, three more sit inside the top 20 heading into the final round.
Wade Ormsby (70), Kevin Yuan (70), Todd Sinnott (73) and amateur Hayden Hopewell (68) are all seven shots adrift of Smyth at one-under and tied for 19th, Scott Hend (71) one shot further back in a tie for 29th.
Sanctuary Cove member Anthony Quayle has a four-shot deficit to make up in the final round of the Japan Golf Tour’s, trailing Rikuya Hoshino at the BMW Japan Golf Tour Championship Mori Building Cup.
Runner-up a week ago, Quayle remained within striking distance of his maiden victory in Japan after grinding out a 70 at the Shishido Hills Country Club.
He himself had a four-stroke lead going into the final round of the Mizuno Open last week but knows that to make a charge he needs his cold putter firing on all cylinders again.
“I felt like I could still post a score, just the putter was a bit colder than normal,” lamented Quayle, who traded three birdies against two bogeys.
“I’m still putting OK. I just got nothing out of it. A lot of putts still went missing, bending around the edges.
“But I was able to grind out an under-par score to give myself a chance.”
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