Kiwi Bateman sets the pace

Harry Bateman

Consistent Kiwi Harry Bateman will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Isuzu Queensland Open after a topsy-turvy third round at The Brisbane Golf Club.

On a day when five players either held or shared the lead, Bateman prevailed with a five-under 66 to lead West Australian Ollie Goss (66 yesterday) and New South Welshman Troy Moses who shot 69.

Goss and Moses are former top amateurs who are making their mark in the pro ranks. Goss was low amateur at the 2014 US Masters and Moses won the Keperra Bowl the same year.

Goss is quietly confident he can notch a victory before returning to his base in the United States on Monday to prepare for the Web.com second stage Qualifying School.

“I’m really happy with my game. If I can shoot five-under again tomorrow I should be right up there,’’ he said. “I feel I’m in a groove and my game plan has been the same each day… I won’t change anything.

“I have been working really hard off the course. Nobody sees that and it is good when the hard work pays off.’’

Goss made six birdies and conceded a solitary bogey, a statistic matched by Bateman who will be chasing his second 72-hole tournament victory in as many starts.

The 27-year old Kiwi won the Harewood Open in Christchurch two weeks ago by a whopping eight shots and received his trophy from New Zealand golf’s living legend Sir Bob Charles.

“It’s been a good year after I had a shocker in 2016,’’ he said. “I played the
Isuzu Queensland Open last year but missed the cut.’’

Bateman turned professional four years ago after completing his university studies where he attained a science degree.

“I won’t change anything on Sunday. My game plan is pretty conservative … I’ll keep it simple,’’ he said.

Michael Sim, who led after 36 holes, carded a 71 to remain in contention just three shots off the pace.

He struck trouble mid-round with three successive bogeys from the eighth hole but fought back with three birdies on the back nine for his 71.

Victorian Ryan Lynch loomed into contention with a fine 67 to share equal fifth place at four-under with Queenslander Tim Hart (68) and Ben Clementson who did well to salvage a 73 after an early meltdown.

Lynch’s only blemish came with a bogey on the 18th but he was justifiably pleased with his showing.

“My game has been in really good shape. If I can keep bogeys off my card I can hopefully go on with it tomorrow,’’ he said.

Lynch, who reeled off a hat-trick of birdies from the 10th hole, came from five shots behind to win the WA PGA title in 2014.

“I’ve shown I can come from behind. I just have to keep the bogeys off my card.’’

Clementson, who started the day one off the lead, hit the front with three straight birdies then imploded to drop six strokes in three holes. He made a triple-bogey on the fifth, bogey on the sixth and double on the seventh.

He could easily have plummeted down the leaderboard but managed to steady the ship and remain in the firing line.

A group of seven players are tied in eighth place at three-under. They include Ewan Porter, who shot a 68 at only his fifth tournament in the past three years, Queenslanders Damien Jordan (70) and Kade McBride (72) and South Australian Max McCardle who shot 72.

Admission to Sunday’s final round is free with the leaders hitting-off at 10.30am. Family Fun Day will run from 9.00am to 4.00pm with free activities and entertainment located behind the first tee.

Scores: Click here