A back-nine resurgence has Anthony Quayle within striking distance of leader Brad Kennedy at the Coca-Cola Queensland PGA Championship at City Golf Club in Toowoomba.
Quayle shot a remarkable nine birdies to finish round three 7-under par for a 13-under total and be within one shot of Kennedy, who mustered a 1-under effort today.
Michael Sim, who also shot 7-under, is tied for third alongside Jamie Hook at 12-under.
Quayle’s breakthrough round almost derailed when he was penalised for taking incorrect preferred lie on the ninth hole.
But despite the “brain fart”, the Gold Coast resident made a remarkable recovery to finish outright second.
“For about 10 minutes I was really frustrated and then after that I was able to calm myself down and go alright,” Quayle said.
“The first two days I played nicely tee-to-green, but putted pretty poorly. I have played really aggressively this week. I’ve tried to challenge a lot of the holes. Holes where you can hit an iron or a driver, I’ve opted for the driver, which creates a lot of birdie opportunities.
“I’ve started to gain some confidence over the last few weeks. I don’t think I’ve finished outside the top-20 in three months worldwide now. I feel like that’s what I should be doing.”
Quayle had handy assistance on the bags with his wife, Sophia, filling in as his caddy.
“I had Soph, my wife, come out and caddy today. She hasn’t caddied in a while, let alone on a hilly, water-logged course, so I bet she’s really feeling it.”
As heavy rain suspended play on days one and two, much of the field was forced to complete their second rounds this morning.
Kennedy completed the morning session with a five-shot buffer, but, largely due to a hip injury, was unable to build on his early tournament dominance.
“I pinched something in my hip yesterday afternoon when we finished walking down 18 and am just struggling to get through the ball. That’s why I blocked a couple early because I just wasn’t able to get through (the ball). I’m hoping I could do a bit of rehab tonight,” Kennedy said.
“I just couldn’t get any flow today. I hit a lot of in-between wedges and just never felt I was on top of my game in terms of having the right club or having the right spin control. I made a couple of poor shots early.
“I was proud how I really came back on the back-nine. I had a couple of lip outs, but all-in-all to have the day I feel like I had and still be one shot in front of the lead, I’ll take that. It’s pretty clear what I have to do tomorrow.
“I struggled with the pace of the greens. It looked like they were growing as you were looking at them today. They were quite slow, but held truly.
“I’ve got to get back into controlling my wedges. If I do that and give myself some chances with the putter inside 10-feet, I feel like I will give myself the ability to be there on the back nine. It’s going to be fun and fun for the crowd.
Sim completed the round in sterling fashion, scoring four birdies on the final nine holes.
“I struck the ball pretty well and gave myself a lot of changes. The turning point was the birdie putt on the 10th (hole). I just came off bogey on nine and rolled it in for a 12-foot putt to keep the round going,” Sim said.
“I think this golf course gives you chances if you’re in the fairway. There are plenty of birdies with the soft greens and I felt I just had to keep going.
“It’s nice to come here on a Saturday and shoot a 63 and give myself a good chance for a win tomorrow.”
Scott Arnold had an awful start to the round with a double bogey on the first, but quickly made up ground to finish with seven birdies to be in contention on the final day.
Arnold’s 5-under par performance elevates him to fifth at 11-under.
“It probably changed my mindset a little bit to be honest. I lost two shots straight away and I knew that there are so many birdie opportunities if you play well out here, so I tried my best to forget about it and get into the mentality to lift my game,” Arnold said.
“My game’s been pretty good, but haven’t been able to be consistent. I will have three good rounds and one average round, so tomorrow will be a big test.
“I’ll keep the nerves at a minimum and aim to get to a strong start and build from there.”
Tomorrow’s round 4 action will be broadcast live on Fox Sports (channel 507) and Kayo from 11am-4pm (AEST).