Married for less than a year and with a baby on the way, today was a great time for Ben Wharton to find his putting game at 13th Beach Golf Links.
The Victorian was one of the big movers in the morning groups in the third round of the $420,000 Vic Open, posting a 7-under-par 65, including six consecutive threes on the back nine of the Beach Course.
Moving to 9-under after 54 holes, four from the leaders Nick Voke and Kade McBride, has set up the possibility of his best cheque on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia.
A runner-up in the 2021 NT PGA Championship, Wharton currently sits in 80th place on this season’s Order of Merit.
His charge up the leaderboard actually started late in the second round when he had four birdies on his second nine on the Creek Course to make the cut by just two shots.
“It was nice to hole a few putts. It’s been a long time coming,” he said.
“I seem to hit every green in regulation every time I play and walk off with 34 putts.
“It’s been nice today to see a few go in.”
The 36-year-old has had significant life changes recently with more to come, including building on his coaching career and preparing for the birth of his first child with wife Katherine after their wedding in the Yarra Valley last May.
“It’s been a little more stressful to honest, trying to make a quid,” Wharton said of playing professionally with the extra responsibilities in his personal life.
“We’re trying to get a mortgage sorted and there’s a baby on the way.
“There’s a lot more grown up things I have to do along the way.”
An ambassador for Moonah Links Golf Club, Wharton was spurred along to his low round of the year by his playing partners Peter Wilson and Jason Norris, who during the round set a group target of birdies to help inspire their mate.
The goal was 15 and they finished on 12. Next week they’ll live together in the same house at Webex Players Series Sydney.
“They definitely helped me today,” he said.
“It was great to have their support when they knew I’d got off to a good start.
“As I was rolling along, I reminisced about a day I played with Brad Kennedy a couple of years ago when he shot 7-under and catapulted to the top five.
“I thought ‘the lead’s only 9-under if I can do that I can get up near the lead which would be a cool thing to do’ and that’s how it’s panned out at the moment.”