A fast finishing Callan O’Reilly has knocked Stephen Leaney off the top spot on the leaderboard for the first time during the 2017 Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open.
Getting off to a slow start, O’Reilly’s putter heated up on his way into the clubhouse helping him to reel off three birdies to finish on 4-under 68.
“I hit some nice shots early but just didn’t quite get it close enough. Then I hit a really good putt on 16,” said O’Reilly who is 13-under the card after three rounds.
“I was talking to my caddie Gav and he said ‘I think you’re ready to hole one’ and I said ‘I haven’t come close yet so I don’t know why I’d start now’ and I put one in from 20 foot and then played two really solid holes to finish birdie, birdie.”
The 27-year-old New South Welshman now takes a one shot lead into the final round where he is hoping to record his first victory on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been up here. The WA PGA last year was the last time I’ve been in contention at an event,” added O’Reilly who enjoyed the crowd support.
“The crowd had been great. You hit a good shot and they give you the kudos you’re due so it’s been nice. It’s nice to have a crowd cheering your good shots every now and then.”
Despite a frustrating day on the greens, Leaney fired 3-under 69 to keep his hopes of a sixth WA Open title alive.
“I'm hitting it to 12 or 15 feet and not making any of them. It's a little bit frustrating. I hit a three-iron into the last to 15 feet and had that for eagle and didn't make it,” said Leaney who grew up playing the Royal Perth layout.
“I've missed about 10 of those in the last two days but the good thing is that I'm hitting a lot of good shots. I'm not doing a lot wrong and my only bogey today was a three putt.
“It's a big bonus playing on a golf course that I feel very comfortable on. I've hit so many good shots into so many holes that there's nothing out there that I don't know.”
Firing the best round of the day, 6-under 66, Victorian PGA Champion Damien Jordan has moved his way into contention, just three shots back of O’Reilly.
“You have to get as much momentum going to go as deep as you can just to shoot up that leaderboard,” said Jordan.
“I got off to a good start, with a couple of early birdies to be 5-under the front-9. I just tried to make as many pars as I could and then made some good putts on the back-9. Luckily, I birdied 18 to shoot a good score.”
Joining Jordan tied third on the leaderboard at 10-under the card is Victorian James Marchesani who has taken an aggressive approach to the Royal Perth layout.
“I've been hitting a lot of drivers this week when the other guys have played with an iron. I've been aggressive and that seems to have paid off so far,” said Marchesani.
“The greens are so good here that if you hit it in to 10-15 feet you can pour them in from anywhere. I managed to do that well. I made three birdies late on the back-9."
Rounding out the top-5 on the leaderboard at 8-under the card are West Australians Daniel Fox and Daniel Hoeve who fired rounds of 68 and 70 respectively.
The final round of the Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open tees off at 9am with the final group of O’Reilly, Leaney and Jordan on course at 10.40am.
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