Augusta National is beckoning, and two Australians sit poised in the race to answer the call.
With a two shot buffer at the top of the Asia-Pacific Amateur leaderboard, Victoria’s Brett Coletta leads the pack after Round 3 at Korea’s Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, with Cameron Davis of NSW his nearest rival.
Coletta, -14, and Davis, -12, have set up what is likely to be a shootout between them, with third-placed Junya Kameshiro of Japan six back of Coletta’s mark, and Perth’s Curtis Luck seven off the pace in fourth.
Starting the day with a one shot lead, Coletta raced out of the blocks with birdies on two, three, six and seven, stretching his advantage to five after Davis bogeyed the seventh.
But Davis didn’t lie down, going bogey-free on the run home and closing within one on the 16th. It took a spectacular putt from off the 17th green for Coletta to reinstate his two shot lead.
As roommates, the pair have been inseparable this week on and off the course, sharing today and tomorrow’s round, as well this afternoon’s press conference.
But with so much on the line, both Coletta and Davis downplayed any suggestion that the heightened stakes could change their dynamic.
“You just have to put it down to the best on the day wins. There’s no grudge between any of us and we’ll tee it up tomorrow, the same deal as today… I think it’s great to be in this situation.” Coletta said.
“The thought of playing the Masters just turns your stomach a little bit, you can’t put too much pressure on yourself and I just have to go about my business tomorrow and the best man will win.”
“There’s no point getting ahead of ourselves, there’s still another day to go,” agreed Davis.
“You just treat it like any other golf tournament, but I guess after the tournament’s finished one of us might be a little bit happier than the other — or someone else will have a great round tomorrow, so you just never know what’s going to happen.
“We’ll just leave the golf out here and when we go back just take it off our minds. There’s no point dwelling on it, it just puts too much pressure on yourself.”
While this is Coletta’s first crack at the Asia-Pacific Amateur, Davis was in a similar situation last year in Hong Kong — trailing 2015 winner Jin Cheng by one shot into the final round which was eventually cancelled due to a nearby typhoon.
“It’s nice that we’ll hopefully get to play tomorrow, I’m not going to try and jinx us there,” joked Davis.
“It’s nice to play some good golf again in a high level tournament and put myself in the running. Its confidence building leading into the future as well, but it’s just nice to be here with another chance because it’s been a long year since that last one.”