The Australian All Abilities Championship “is like a major” for its players and tomorrow will see a final-round showdown at The Australian befitting any major championship.
After some late movement on the leaderboard on Friday, three players – Australians Cam Pollard and Lachlan Wood and Ireland’s Brendan Lawlor – will head into the final round tied for the lead.
At 1-over-par, they are two shots ahead of Italy’s Tomasso Perrino with the defending champion, England’s Kipp Popert, a further shot back.
Coffs Harbour’s Pollard, who had a share of the first-round lead after a 2-under 69, was in front for most of the day but was brought undone by a triple-bogey when he found the water at the par-4 17th and eventually carded a round of 74.
Wood, from Hervey Bay, followed his 71 on Thursday with a 72 in the second round, while Lawlor backed up his opening 73 with a 70 that included a rough period of three bogeys in four holes at the start of his second nine.
Ranked No.2 in the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability, Lawlor has the AAC as “number one” on his schedule. Being on the same course at the same time as the men and women contesting the ISPS HANDA Australian Open, as the all abilities players have been since the event started, is a key reason why.
“We’re playing at the very same times as the main guys,” the 26-year-old said.
“We have full access to player lounges, practice rounds and whatever we want. When the guys market all abilities, all inclusive, that’s exactly what it is, and it’s a joy for me to come back here.
“Hopefully I’ll be coming back here in 20 years, still playing all abilities if I can. It’s incredible.”
The three leaders will be in the same group in the final round, playing just behind the leading groups in the Open, giving the all abilities players a huge stage for their title battle.
Like the two Australians, Lawlor will be desperate to lift the trophy for the first time and pick up the maximum world ranking points.
“I’ve been very lucky to win a few big titles in disability golf, Dubai being one and then G4D Open, but I feel this is like a major for us,” he said.
“This is where it all started and to get this over the line would be an honour for me to do.”
FULL AUSTRALIAN OPEN COVERAGE HERE