Saturday of the Webex Players Series Sydney started with rain for the early groups, then wind whipping up, meaning the low scores on offer all week became rarer. That wasn’t the case for Harrison Crowe, however, who shares the lead on 18-under with Jenny Shin, Kerry Mountcastle and Kazuma Kobori with 18 holes to play.
After threatening to go exceptionally low on Saturday, Crowe signed for a second straight 64 that once again could have been better.
Turning in 30 after four birdies and an eagle, the former amateur star slipped up at the par-3 11th with one of only two shots in the round that were noticeably mis-cued, the other a flared right second shot with 3-wood at the 18th.
Crowe’s three birdie back nine, including at the par-5 18th, after standing bobbing his head to Taylor Swift from a nearby marquee, putting him in a good mood as he headed for the hour long drive home.
“I hit it short of the water on 11. I just didn’t think the tree was in play, but it has been really good tee to green the last two days,” Crowe said with a smile.
“I think off the tee it’s been exceptionally good, just putting myself in spots and obviously got hot that front nine, and kind of slowed up a little on the back with a couple of missed putts.”
Missed putts has been the story of the last two days for Crowe, but there was improvement after a quick putting lesson from coach John Serhan on Friday that has the former NSW Open winner in a good headspace, and final group alongside Shin.
“You can really get stuck in that mindset that you’re not holing anything,” he said. “I did my best today at reassuring myself before the putt that if it doesn’t go in, or missed, it wasn’t me.”
Similarly finding frustration at times when missing birdie opportunities, including at the driveable 16th where she wanted to “helicopter” her putter, Shin struggled early during round three at Castle Hill Country Club.
Battling her body and the pulls, Shin talked through the issue with caddie/boyfriend and former Osteopath Zoot, before birdieing the last for 68.
“We kind of figured it out, I had like seven swing thoughts the last fourteen holes, but yeah dropped some putts. Felt like I should have made birdie on 16, really sad about that, but overall, pretty decent considering how windy it was,” Shin said.
The wind was also a factor for Mountcastle, who had a very up and down day including two eagles, five birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey for four-under 68.
“That was a very interesting day, the good was good and the bad was bad,” Mountcastle said.
“To keep myself in contention obviously, it was a pretty tough with the wind out there, so just to keep myself there or thereabouts where anything can happen.”
Keeping himself in contention included a lipped in birdie putt from 12 feet at the last, while in the same group, Kobori headed straight for the putting green after his own birdie attempt to lead alone from five feet failed to drop.
Having three bogeys of his own against six birdies, Kobori noted how much he is enjoying his elevated status and attention as a two-time Webex Players Series winner already in 2024.
His reflections on the toughest day he has experienced on course for a while perhaps an ominous warning for his three fellow leaders. So too the chasing pack that starts with Brendan Jones and Justin Warren three back on 15-under.
“It’s always like you are never as far away or you are never as good as you think you are in this game,” Kobori said.
“So, all I can do is figure out what I did today and there were definitely some key learnings that I will be taking into tomorrow. And then play how I have been playing for the last month, I’ve got the job done twice, so I kind of know what it takes, then go out there and do it.”
Despite Kobori’s recent form, Mountcastle will know better golf is ahead of him on Sunday, while Shin is a proven LPGA Tour winner and Crowe has looked on the verge of a special round all week.
Meanwhile, Jones will be hoping for a better Sunday front nine, while Warren is known to make birdies in bunches, and the likes of Braden Becker and James Gibellini on 14-under have already thrown low rounds in this week.
The veteran Jones perhaps summing up how Sunday will look for all of the congested leaderboard.
“At the end of the day I can’t do anything about anyone else, I just got to do my own thing,” he said.
In the Junior section, Harry Whitelock was the lone player to break par (two-under) and leads by two from Rachel Lee on even par, while Cameron Pollard looks in line for more success in the All Abilities field. His six-over score good for a seven shot advantage over Lochie Smith.