Whether it’s Min Woo Lee, Travis Smyth or Justin Warren – tomorrow’s AVJennings NSW Open spells destiny for one of them as they try to break through for their maiden professional win here at twin Creeks Golf and Country Club.
All are prodigiously talented, and all are yet to win their first professional title. But in golf, they always say to make sure you’re in the hunt down the stretch. Warren’s dad, Stuart, had his own interesting description of the situation.
“Hopefully on the back nine tomorrow, he (Justin) is in a spot where he can throw a few punches,” he said.
It will take a few haymakers to lift the Kel Nagle Cup. And we can’t wait to see it go down.
Today, it was Warren’s turn to gorge on birdies, an eight-under round which could have been one better had he not bogeyed the 18th for the second day in a row. It was a cakewalk until the last few holes – the tough stretch from 16 to 18 – as he and playing partner, Shellharbour’s Travis Smyth, delivered on their potential.
Smyth on the verge of something special
Smyth ran up seven birdies and a bogey in his third sub-70 round (66) in a row, while Warren racked up seven birdies and an eagle in today’s low round of 64.
“It makes you feel like you can keep on going when you are playing with someone that’s doing that well,” said Smyth, 24.
“There’s no leaderboards out there so you don’t really know what other people are doing. I definitely knew what he was doing and I tried to do the best I could to keep up.
“I hit a bad one on 15. I kind of necked it and it went a little bit left. I thought it would finish short of all the trees but it kept on rolling. I made a pretty crappy bogey there, which sucked. But other than that, I was happy with every shot I hit out there.”
“That last day at Stonecutters Ridge it was really windy and I was trying to hit shots I shouldn’t have been hitting,”Justin Warren said post-round.
Warren, 24, led this event after three rounds four years ago at Stonecutters Ridge only to abandon his game plan in the hunt for birdies. It was a disaster he has learnt from, and it won’t be happening again tomorrow.
Studying at the University of Little Rock Arkansas in the US these past four years has resulted him being under the radar compared to his peers (Cam Davies) but no-one is under-estimating the quality of his golf, or his capability in winning, including himself.
“That last day at Stonecutters Ridge it was really windy and I was trying to hit shots I shouldn’t have been hitting,” he said.
“I look back at that day and I hit a lot of shots I just wouldn’t hit these days, going for pins and being aggressive with drivers. It’s very much a great learning experience that has framed me a lot to where I am today. That day four years ago served me a lot and I’m going to draw on that [on Sunday] and know when to go and be safe.”
Min Woo Lee: I can improve
Whilst Smyth is searching for that really deep low number tomorrow and Warren hopes for a repeat of today’s performance, Min Woo Lee’s appraisal of his own four-under round is also a concern.
“I scored pretty well today but I didn’t feel like I played good at all,” said the 21-year-old.
“I didn’t feel good over the ball or over the putter today, but hopefully I can fix that up in the next hour (on the range) and get it going tomorrow.”
First-round leader Josh Younger kept his chances alive with a solid 65, highlighted by six birdies to be a shot back at -16 and in the final group tomorrow. his no-nonsense approach should be an island if the youngsters get caught up in match play.
And only the foolish would discount Andrew Dodt’s chances of a fourth professional title. The Brisbane-born 33-year-old kept it real today with an even-par 72 to be three back. With nothing to lose he could be a major threat.
Don’t forget to join us here at www.golfnsw.com for tomorrow’s LIVE STREAM of the final round of the AVJennings NSW Open here at Twin Creeks Golf & Country Club.