Only two things mattered to Connor Syme today, and that was staying hydrated and getting birdies. Thankfully he managed both during his eight under round of the day at Stonecutters, to put himself firmly in contention to lift the Kel Nagle Cup tomorrow.
Five birdies on the front, four on the back and just the lone bogey at 16 (again) left him with his best round of the year of 64. It’s the standout round of the day, although the course is still giving up birdies despite a stronger breeze this afternoon.
“I’m happy to be in with a chance tomorrow,” said the 21-year-old. “I’m absolutely delighted with that. It’s my lowest round of the year. I’m buzzing.”
Asked what he thought he would have to shoot tomorrow to win the event, he said. “It depends on Adam (Blyth). Adam’s up there at 19, and depends what he’s got going a bit draft. But if he doesn’t get too far ahead, the guys at -15 are in with a chance, for sure.”
Displaying maturity beyond his years, the Scot explained why the gulf between amateur and professional is less wide this year. “The tournaments we play all year round there’s low scores every week. It’s a step up obviously to play with the pro’s but I feel like we’re just bringing the game that we know we can play.
“It’s a slightly different feeling playing with the pro’s, but if you stay in the moment you can certainly play against them, definitely.
2.30pm: UPDATE: Blythe back on the job with more birdies
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Overnight leader Adam Blyth has carried his impressive form into the third round of the NSW Open at Stonecutters Ridge in Sydney’s west.
The big Queenslander is three-under through the first six holes this morning, playing in the final group with Mathew Millar (15) and Victorian Peter Wilson (-14).
After opening with a pair of pars, Blyth birdied the third, fourth and fifth holes to take a commanding four-shot lead heading into the back nine.
As expected, Robert Allenby shook off his jet lag to post his best score of the tournament so far, a trouble-free six-under 66 to leave him tied for 11th at -12. The scoreboard at one stage showed Allenby holding the hottest round of the day at nine-under, and although that turned out to be a technical glitch, Allenby said that type of round was conceivable if he simply held a few more putts.
“Six (under) is good. Every day I’ve left a few out there. I keep hoping that I’ll shoot that 10-under, or 11-under, but I feel like I’m getting better every day.
“I’m just happy that I’m moving forwards, not backwards. I’m hitting a lot great putts, they’re just lipping out.”
It wasn’t just the tour’s more established players climbing the leaderboard. Australian Amateur champion Connor Syme is two-thirds of the way through his third round, and is currently -7 for the day, to sit at -14 and in a tie for third.
Another noteworthy round came from Victorian Jarrod Lyle who scored eight birdies and a single bogey on his way to 65 and a share of 7th.
12.30pm UPDATE: Allenby roaring back into contention
Four time Australian PGA champion Robert Allenby has roared back into contention at the NSW Open with the round of the morning – six under through 14 holes to be at 12-under and four shots from overnight leader Adam Blyth.
Allenby birdied the first, fifth and eighth holes in a blemish-free front nine to make the turn in 33 strokes, in improving conditions with the course softened by overnight rain. He continued not he back nine with birdies at 10, 11 and 14 with the short par-five 15th another chance to go further under the card.
Reigning Australian amateur champion, Scotland’s Connor Syme, is five under for the round and equal fourth alongside Allenby at -12.
Brett Coletta, the tournament leader after round one, started strongly with a birdie at the first to move to -11.
Weather conditions have improved all morning with glorious sunshine and moderate breeze. There should be plenty of birdies on offer throughout the afternoon.
11am UPDATE: Allenby moving up the leaderboard
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Four time Australian PGA champion Robert Allenby is the biggest mover this morning in the third round of the NSW Open at Stonecutters Ridge, with a three-under front nine to move within seven shots of overnight leader Adam Blyth.
Allenby birdied the first, fifth and eighth holes in a blemish-free front nine to make the turn in 33 strokes, in improving conditions with the course softened by overnight rain.
Victorian Ryan Lynch has matched Allenby’s front nine with three birdies and five pars to also finish in 33 strokes, and is now at -9 with only the marquee groups still to tee off.
Scottish amateur Connor Syme has also started exceptionally well, and is also -3 for his round to sit at -10 and tied for eighth.
The tournament’s youngest player, 17-year-old Penrith amateur Joshua Gadd, made an impressive start to his round as well, defying his nerves to birdie the first to be at -9 and tied 15th.
More to come …
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Good morning and welcome to our coverage of the third round of the NSW Open at Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club in Sydney’s western suburbs.
As predicted the course has seen some overnight rain, but showers appear to be contained closer to the city. Right now after a one-hour delay, the first groups are teeing off in overcast weather, but without the strong winds predicted by meteorologists.
What a big day of golf we have ahead of us. Adam Blyth will start the day with a two-shot lead at -16 but a quality field isn’t too far away, including Matthew Millar who is just two shots back. A number of challengers are all keen to claim a place in the final groups tomorrow and keep themselves within striking distance of the Kel Nagle Cup.
We will bring you updates throughout the day, so keep your eyes on the Golf NSW website,or follow us on twitter, instagram and Facebook where we will post regular scores and videos of the day’s play.