Course records tumble, Gale holds firm at Sandbelt Invitational - PGA of Australia

Course records tumble, Gale holds firm at Sandbelt Invitational

For the third straight year, Yarra Yarra Golf Club’s course record fell on day three of the Sandbelt Invitational.

However, despite Brett Coletta, Phoenix Campbell and Sarah Hammett all etching their name on a brand new honour board in the clubhouse, Daniel Gale still leads by four with 18 holes to play.

Coletta and Campbell signed for 63s to knock off David Micheluzzi’s 64, with the pair of record setters sitting eight-under overall and only behind Lachlan Barker on 11-under and Gale at 15-under. Meanwhile Hammett’s 66 sees here just one back of Jazy Roberts on seven-under in the low women’s amateur category.

Enduring two suspensions due to electrical storms, Gale clearly felt no hindrance from the stop-start nature of Wednesday’s play, although the wind whipping up as he finished his third round saw him drop shots at the par-4 12th and 18th. The bogeys giving Barker and the rest of the chasing pack some semblance of hope as they head to Royal Melbourne (East) for the final day.

Gale happy with his position but far from getting ahead of himself as he chases what he called “nice Chrissie bonus” a day earlier.

“I mean it’s the position you want to be in,” he said.

“That’s what all the hard work’s for, it’s just another day of golf really. I’ve never seen the East, so I will do a little research tonight, see if there’s anything here or there that I can pick up heading into tomorrow.”

Similarly experiencing the East Course for the first time will be Barker, who for the third straight day will play with Gale.

The South Australian continuing to look comfortable on the Sandbelt despite lacking familiarity, his five-birdie day at Yarra Yarra only spoiled by a dropped shot at the uphill 16th. Barker’s main round three takeaway being his mental strength on a somewhat difficult day.

“Got off to a pretty hot start,” Barker said. “Then we had a little bit of adversity, which I think I handled quite well.

“Little bit of mental fortitude, and sort of more accepting attitude sort of helped.”

That mental fortitude includes a mantra of “keep doing what I’m doing” on the final day, when he and Gale’s friendly dynamic of the week and pushing each other along might change if things get tight on the back nine.

“He’s a good fella. I’m pretty casual, but he’s probably got me on the casual side of things. We are keeping it cool, calm and collected out there. It’s good fun,” Gale said.

“We’ve been feeding off each other. It’s good to see, it’s been great golf.”

Great golf it has been, including from Campbell who was wary not to get too far ahead of himself over his pursuit of Gale.

“Can’t think about it too much, I’ve just got to think about my own game and if I can roll a few putts in and stay patient I might be a red hot chance,” Campbell said.

Gale similarly unable to be drawn in by questions of what it might feel like to hold the trophy aloft tomorrow

“After the 72nd hole, and if I’m in the lead, that’s when I will be thinking about it.”

PHOTO: Daniel Gale on his way to a 66 at Yarra Yarra today.


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