The fortunes of best friends Brett Drewitt (-5) and Matt Stieger (-4) would differ after the final hole of Day 3 in the 2014 Oates Victorian Open Championship. Drewitt is the outright leader with Stieger in outright second.
Stieger entered the par-5 challenge on the Beach course at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links leading the Men’s pack however a bogie would see him swap places with Drewitt who recorded an impressive birdie on the 468m final hole surrounded by marquees.
“It wasn’t playing very easy today, the wind took off the left so I took an aggressive drive and a late footer on the last, it was very good,” Drewitt reflected.
“I played awesome yesterday and today the rhythm was there and I managed myself around the wind very well. It’s a good place to be”, he smiled.
The 23-year-old who enters his fifth month as a professional admits he looks forward to the prospect of playing against his former New South Wales teammate in Stieger.
“I know just as much about his game as he knows about mine. It’s going to be good because I know his game like the back of my hand”, Drewitt revealed.
“I’m looking forward to playing with him. I’ve been in a similar position in amateur golf and it’s really no different. I’m just going to go out there and play my game and if he plays good then I’ll try and beat him”.
Surprisingly, Stieger struggled to hide his smile while departing the 18th hole this afternoon despite his bogie result.
“I had a good drive down the left hand side and it was the perfect go-zone but I got a little bit jumpy on the swing and pulled it into a little bit of a hazard,” he grinned.
Bright and cheerful, Stieger had an inspiring mentor to thank for his never-say-no positive attitude.
“I’ve been working really hard with John Novak lately with the Boomerang effect where ‘all your positive thoughts will come around and back to you while anything you say negative will come back and bite you’” said Stieger.
“I’ve got cards which he gives to his players which say things like ‘patience’ and ‘process’, all positive stuff. You have to enjoy it, it’s better to make a bogie and laugh about it than get angry and make another one”.
Looking to tomorrow, the boy from Narrabri feels confident he can start his 2014 year on the winners list.
“It’s my first tournament for about two months [or so it feels like] so I’ve just been working hard. It’s hard to practice when you have nothing to play for so this week has been a big improvement and a great lead up to the year ahead with the full Asian tour card”.
“A win would mean a lot. I’ve had a couple of misses in the past by only one shot so it would open up a lot of doors but I’m going to try not to think about that, I’m going to try and close this one out”.
Terry Pilkadaris, previous day’s leader, is currently tied for 3rd with Matthew Griffin at three under par while 2012 Open tournament winner Scott Arnold remains in the top ten.
The rounds of the day went to Richard Green and Jack Wilson who went out earlier in the day, both posting five-under 67’s. Green is now in outright fifth at two under whilst Wilson is one back in a tie for sixth at one under.
South Australian Anthony Murdaca is the highest ranked amateur entering the final day tied at three over par however he trails the highest ranked International, Pieter Zwart (New Zealand), by one shot.
Visit www.golfvic.org.au for the full draw and all the latest news and tournament updates.
By: Alex Tigani (Golf Victoria Contributor)
Photo: Nick Ramanathan