Sweet-swinging veteran Richard Green has a chance to wind back the clock while Todd Sinnott will join him in the final group with a huge opportunity at the TPS Victoria Rosebud tomorrow.
The 50-year-old left-hander Green shot a stunning 63 with six birdies and an eagle to launch himself to the top of the leaderboard and a position that he has not experienced for some time.
A part-time player nowadays after spending 20 years in Europe, petrol head Green spends as much time fretting about the Porsche he races as he worries about his golf.
But he intends taking up a spot on the European Legends Tour in 2022 and his game remains in good shape with his famously beautiful rythm. Today the old Ping Anser putter he threw into his bag ran white hot, including an eight-metre bomb for eagle at the par-five 15th and a five-metre par-saver at the 11th.
“The putter’s been really hot, actually, so I’m going to roll with it for the weekend,” he said.
“I wondered if I’d done enough work over the last couple of years to stay competitive, but I’ve realised since the Australian PGA and playing this event that the work I have done has been enough to keep my game. I hadn’t played competitively for two years prior to the Australian PGA (where he was in the top 30) so to play this well at the PGA and here has been great.”
Green’s last win on the Australasian Tour was the Vic Open in 2015, seven years ago, but at his peak he was a world top 30 player and he won three times in Europe as well as the 2004 Australian Masters.
“I’m going to just keep playing my game,” he said. “It’s obviously working at the moment, and draw on my experience with golf over the years, try to just wear them down. See what happens.”
Victorian Sinnott shot 65 and in a sense his share of the lead could be seen as a surprise as well. In five years as a pro his only win is the Myanmar Open in 2017, a victory that gave him Japan Tour status.
Long-bomber Sinnott, 29, has been playing in Japan but his career was curtailed by a back stress fracture and then the tour’s shut-out of foreign pros during the worst of the Covid pandemic sidelined him again.
But with his power off the tee he remains a force when he is on song, and he will play in the final group tomorrow with Green.
“It’s where you want to play,” said Sinnott. I feel like I’m playing really well, just haven’t been able to get into contention for the last six months, really. It’s nice to put everything together.’’
A bunch of players remain in contention at Rosebud, where the pristine weather and finely-tuned course drew an excellent gallery today.
Just a shot behind Green and Sinnott there are seven players at 14 under par –Victorian Cameron John, Queenslander Anthony Quayle, New Zealander Ben Campbell, Wales professional Lydia Hall and New South Welshman Daniel Gale, overnight leader Momoka Kobori and another veteran, Andre Stolz. Another three players — New South Wales amateur Kelsey Bennett, Queenslander Aaron Pike and Victorian Blake Collyer — are at 12 under and just three shots from the lead.
Quayle, a last-star winner at the Queensland PGA, shot a 65 that included an ace with a wedge at the 137-metre fourth hole.
In the Junior Players Series, Metropolitan’s 16-year-old Alexandra Phanuruk and another Victorian, Levi Sclater, lead at one under par after opening 70s. A shot behind is Metropolitan’s Michael Song at even-par.
Phanaruk lives in Melbourne’s western suburbs and has the distraction of her year 12 studies at Mt St Joseph Girls College to consider before she heads to college in America, which is her ambition.
She played with Anthony Quayle and Julienne Soo, the WPGA professional. “It was quite inspiring to play with two really good pros,” she said.
Sclater hails from Maffra and plays pennant golf for Huntingdale.
The 22 juniors were interspersed with the field and loved the opportunity. Sinnott played with 13-year-old Yarra Yarra wunderkind Amelia Harris, who shot a 74 and came away saying that he was “in awe” of her abilities.
“I’ve never seen a junior that good at that young of an age, pretty impressive,” he said.