Local amateur Hayden Hopewell is showing no signs of slowing down after posting a third round of 4-under to lead the Nexus Risk WA Open by two shots heading into Sunday’s final round.
Playing in the final group of the day, the confident teenager hit five birdies on a day when scoring proved tough.
Strong easterly winds battered the groups that teed off early with gusts of up to 40kmh making scoring a challenge.
Despite being one of the youngest players in the fields, Hopewell held his nerve to increase his lead to two shots ahead of experienced veterans Rick Kulacz and Michael Sim.
Speaking after his round Hopewell said, “I’m feeling pretty happy, the course played a little tougher today with wind on the first 12 holes.”
“I’m happy with my score but I feel like I left a few out there. I’m comfortable with my game plan off the tee on every hole.”
Hopewell admitted to glancing at the leaderboard midway through his round as the scores were tightening up.
“I did see the leaderboard after nine holes and it looked a little tight so I pulled driver out on 10 and made a good birdie there. I made another good birdie on 13 and another on 14,” Hopewell said.
Rick Kulacz rallied on his back nine to card five birdies and move into a share of second place.
“I hit a good tee shot on 10 that set the tone for the next few holes,” Kulacz noted.
“There’s still a bunch of guys that could have a day out tomorrow. It’s definitely not a two or three-horse race that’s for sure. Depending on how strong the wind is I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone shoot a low score.”
Michael Sim sits alongside Kulacz at 11-under and will round out the final grouping tomorrow morning. Sim finished third last week at the WA PGA and will be looking to improve upon that result tomorrow.
“I played solid last week and am playing solid golf again this week. I’m looking forward to tomorrow because it’s everyone’s goal to be in this position moving into the final round,” said Sim.
WA PGA runner-up Jarryd Felton posted an impressive round of 67 (-5) that included seven birdies. Felton’s playing partner Callan O’Reilly also carded seven birdies to move to 9-under for the tournament.
Ollie Goss looked to be putting together a good round until two costly mistakes late in the day halted his momentum. Goss recovered from an early double-bogey with five birdies in seven holes and looked to be on track for a good score until a wayward tee-shot on the driveable par-4 16th resulted in a double bogey.
Another bogey on the 18th dropped Goss into a tie for 13th at 6-under alongside Brett Rumford. Both players have a lot of work to do tomorrow but a late run at the tile isn’t out of the question.
New South Welshman Geoffrey Nicholas has fired off a brilliant round of 76 (+4) to take a four-shot lead into round two of the WA Open All Abilities Championship.
Nicholas got off to a rocky start with five bogeys on his opening nine but birdies on his 10th and 11th holes helped to steady the ship.
Arnold Bamroong and Shane Luke sit only a few shots behind Nicholas and both will be looking to have strong rounds tomorrow in the hope of claiming the inaugural All Abilities Championship.
Murray Durham and Narelle Anderson have won the Western Australia Play 9 finals and will now enjoy a trip to the Australian Open in Sydney for the national Play 9 finals where they will have a chance to win their way to the 2020 Open Championship.