An outstanding round of 62 has propelled Cottesloe amateur Curtis Luck into the outright lead after the third round at the Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open at WA Golf Club.
Luck leads by three shots on 17-under par over South Australian Anthonio Murdaca, with Rick Kulacz the only other golfer inside five shots on 12-under.
Five golfers sit in a tie for fourth on 10-under, with Jarryd Felton, Leigh McKechnie and Mitchell Brown joined by NSW amateurs Travis Smyth and Harrison Endycott.
Luck was calm and composed in his post round interview, likely well aware about what lies ahead in defending his advantage. Luck held a three shot lead in the final round of last year’s WA Open where he finished as the runner-up, and today it was Luck who turned a three shot deficit to Murdaca on the 9th tee into a 3 shot advantage at the end of play.
Luck and Murdaca fed off each other as they racked up 15 birdies between them for the round – trading the lead through the middle and late holes until Luck landed a two shot swing on 18 to birdie as Murdaca bogeyed.
“It was really good playing with Antonio, he holed some really good putts early and I think it inspired me to get my head into the game,” said Luck.
“I think at some point I was even four back but I came through on the back-9 and started holing some good putts.”
“I think there are always nerves. That’s something we all enjoy is having the butterflies on the first tee and coming down the stretch, that’s what we play for.”
If Luck, or any other amateur, was to win tomorrow it would hardly be a shock thanks to the incredible depth of Australia’s amateur circuit — which is now starting to feed into the professional ranks. Luck is one of four amateurs in the top ten, joined by Murdaca and Jarryd Felton who only recently made the jump to the professional golf.
“It shows where Australian golf is at at the moment, it’s really impressive,” said Luck about Australia next generation of golfers.
“It’s great that amateurs can get starts in this event and show people their stuff. Coming second last year was still great and I would probably still take it again, but going one better and to win would mean a lot to me and give me a good idea where I am with my golf.”
With two-time Asian Tour winner Rick Kulacz within five shots, it’s not exactly a two horse race — but Murdaca looms as the clear threat to Luck’s title push. After missing out on PGA Tour of Australasia status at last year’s q-school, the South Australian will be desperate to lock down his first professional victory and secure playing rights for the next two years.
“I was happy with the way I played, I can’t control anyone else’s game and I am comfortable with where I am at,” said Murdaca who lost his overnight lead despite his round of 66.
“Hopefully I get a low one tomorrow and we will see what happens. I am not going to try and play too aggressive, I am just going to stick to the game plan I have had all week. There is no point in trying to change something, I just need to keep calm and see what happens.”
The lead group of Luck, Murdaca and Kulacz will tee off at 10:50am at WA Golf Club.