Daniel Gale has shown punters at Royal Port Moresby Golf Club why they call it Moving Day, firing a course record 11-under 61 in the third round of the SP PNG Open.
His incredible round included three eagles, seven birdies and two bogeys and hands him the lead heading in to the final round tomorrow.
Opening with two pars on the front-9 Gale then went eagle, birdie, birdie, bogey, birdie followed by back-to-back eagles to make the turn at 8-under.
“It's all still a bit of a blur, that's the first time I've had three eagles in one round and first time back-to-back as well,” said Gale.
“I've shot low rounds before but this is in a tournament so it's even better.”
Making the turn at 8-under for any golfer would mean thoughts of an elusive sub-60 round would begin to creep in.
For Gale it was relaxing to have such a hot start before tackling the back-9 which has proven the tougher part of the course this week.
“It's a hard one to think about because there are birdie chances on the back-9 but I would have had to shoot 5-under, if you take out my two bogeys there's a 59.
“I've never shot 59, I've shot a couple of 60s before and when you're that deep under par the nerves go away, I wasn't really that nervous just trying to get them in.
“It probably did cross my mind but I knew I would have had to play absolutely perfect golf on the back-9 which obviously under tournament conditions is hard to do.”
Gale started the round at 6-under the card and five shots off the lead, his plan was to go low but it’s fair to say he exceeded his own expectations.
“Today's moving day for a reason and my goal was obviously to go deep and 11-under is pretty deep,” added Gale.
“I've backed up really good rounds before. Back home in December last year I shot back-to-back 12 under on different golf courses so I know I can back it up, I'm looking forward to getting out there tomorrow.”
Sitting three shots back in second position is Tim Stewart who shot 5-under 67 and is 14-under the card.
“My focus today was just go out there and do exactly what I've been doing the whole week. The same strategy essentially worked pretty well and if I come off with the same score tomorrow I think it won't be far away,” said Stewart.
“But ultimately I'll leave it up to what the golf course is going to give you.
“Galey has had an awesome round so it's good to know there's a score out there.”
Local amateur Brian Taikiri has continued his dream tournament and was speechless when he realised he’d be in the final group of his national Open.
Taikiri shot 2-under 70 and is at 13-under the card, just four shots off the leader.
“I’m ecstatic, shocked and surprised, I have never shot three rounds under par in a row, I’ve never done that in my life,” said Taikiri.
“To play in the last group on a Sunday, is amazing. For the past few years I’ve followed pros in the last group when I was a junior.
“For me to be in the last group, I’m really proud of myself.”
Holding outright fourth is Alex Edge who shot 4-under 68 today and is 12-under the card.
After opening with 8-under 64, Edge followed up with a fighting 1-under 71 that included five birdies on his back-9 to stay in touch with the leaders.
He said he won’t be looking to chase the five shots that separate him and leader Gale, but rather focus on his own game in the final round.
“It was a pretty impressive round by Gayley today, very impressive actually, I'll just do what I do and hopefully it keeps trending in the right place,” said Edge.
“It could be tough to chase that far ahead but you never know, I might play well and the other guys might play not so well so that's all I can do.”
Aaron Pike and Scott Arnold share fifth position at 9-under the card.
The SP PNG Golf Open will be played from 26-29 April at Royal Port Moresby Golf Club in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea with the field vying for a prize purse of AU$145,000.
The winner will receive Official World Golf Ranking Points and become fully exempt on to the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia for the remainder of this season plus a further season.
The final round of the SP PNG Open will tee off at 9:20am with Daniel Gale, Brian Taikiri and Tim Stewart beginning at 11:00am.
For round four tee times, visit pga.org.au.
For round three scores visit pga.org.au.
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