Elvis Smylie has rocketed up the leaderboard to be in a share of second place after his stunning seven-under round in challenging conditions at Rich River GC.
Yet to win since turning professional two years ago, the son of former Wimbledon tennis champion Liz Smylie turned in his best round of the week, and round of the day so far in this third round of the PLAY TODAY NSW Open.
The 28-year-old found eight birdies during the strongest winds of the day, with his sole bogey coming on the 2nd after he pulled it left into trees.
“I’m really liking the course. The greens are getting firmer which I like, and there’s definitely a bit of wind around making it challenging for everyone.
“One more day to go and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Smylie trails joint overnight leader Kade McBride who is -3 through the front nine (-16 overall), three shots clear of Victoria’s Tom Power Horan who matched two birdies with two bogeys on the front nine to be even for the day and -13 for the championship.
Queenslander Jake McLeod is four-under for his round and -12 overall as he seeks his second professional win having won the Kel Nagle Cup in 2018.
Other rounds of note in the morning groups include Jordan Zunic, who shot six-under 66 to be at -10.
“We knew it as going to be a tough day, and I just tried to keep it in play off the tee, give myself lots of looks at birdie and made a few putts,” which was really nice.
Two long putts from off the fringe on the 9th and 12th gave the Illawarra product some were highlights in a round which places him at -10 and in the hunt.
“When you get a few of those (long-range putts) it really helps to get your round going,” Zunic said.
Another Illawarra product Lincoln Tighe mixed seven birdies with three bogeys to finish at -4 for the day and -7 overall and in a tie for 18th. The big bomber from Dapto brought his A-game today, even though he could be forgiven for being distracted: his first wedding anniversary is today but his wife is back home waiting to give birth to their first baby.
1.00pm: Challenge Heats up at Rich River
The East Course at Rich River is baring its teeth on day three of the PLAY TODAY NSW Open, as the leaders make their way through the front nine.
As expected, the wind and heat are making things difficult for players, but it has done little to stop the challengers making their move.
Darcy Brereton, Jake Higginbottom, Deyen Lawson, former champion Brett Coletta and James Marchesani are five-under for their rounds in 30km/h northwesterly winds and temperatures well into the 30s.
They are all at -9 chasing joint overnight leader Kade McBride who opened with a birdie to take the lead at -14.
Further back New Zealander Chang Gi Lee is -4 and -10 overall for the championship. His card is blemish-free through the front nine with four birdies. Mattias Sanchez also shot four-under to be at -7, with four birdies on his back nine coupled with a birdie on 8 and his only bogey for the day coming on the fourth.
Stay tuned for more updates or watch it for free on www.playtoday.cc
8.45am: THE HEAT IS ON AT RICH RIVER
Extreme heat is forecast for Moving Day her at Rich River Golf Club
Strong winds and temperatures in the high 30s are forecast for the third round of the PLAY TODAY NSW Open.
Yesterday the scoring was hot, today it will be a war of attrition with north-east winds up to 30km/h and a high of 38 degrees predicted for the day. Rich River’s East Course has given up a plethora of birdies in the first two rounds (leaders at -13), but it should be a different story on Moving Day.
Kade McBride and Tom Power Horan are clubhouse leaders with a swag of talented youngsters and veterans within striking distance, notably Nathan Barbieri who broke the course record yesterday in a stunning nine-under 62.
With plenty of parking, shade, a party hole (16th) and some of the best clubhouse facilities in Australia, get down to Rich River if you can to watch the drama unfold.
If you can’t be here, all good. Golf NSW is running a livestream from midday with all the action, and all the carnage. You can watch it here:
Stay updated with our rolling coverage throughout the day, and check out our social media channels for interesting snippets and moments throughout the weekend.