Midday Friday is no time to get excited at a golf tournament, a fact not lost on 46-year-old Stephen Allan.
The 2002 Australian Open champion has been around long enough to know golf tournaments are won on Sundays.
But the 24-year veteran is understandably pleased with his position. A blistering seven-under par 65 – which included two dropped shots – has him at nine-under overall and in the mix at the ISPS Handa Vic Open.
“I played pretty well today,” he offered by way of analysis. “I had a little bit of luck which helped me turn that score from a few under to quite a few under.”
Luck is a two-way street of course and Allan has no doubt had his fair share of the bad variety over the years. Close calls in no less than six Monday qualifiers in 2019 is proof of that though the 2002 Australian Open winner accepts it is simply a part of the game.
“I made it through three, missed in playoffs twice and missed by one shot another four times,” he says.
“I played well but was making no money because unless you make the cut you actually have to spend a bunch every time you get through.
“Monday Q’s are expensive then if you get through you have to spend on accommodation and a caddie and a car. It can be pretty hard.”
Allan admits he has begun to consider options outside of playing even though the competitor still burns within. “At the moment I’m a bit unsure what I’m going to do for the rest of the year,” he says,
“At 46 it’s a bit of a no man’s land. I have some limited status on the Korn Ferry Tour but I don’t think it will get me any starts. I have three kids so I can’t keep spending money and not making any. To be honest I’m probably putting off a decision until after this month.”
All of which makes the potential pressure even greater should tomorrow and Sunday go well.
“It’s high stakes golf this week with a card to play for,” he said. “I like the courses here because there is room off the tee. I haven’t been driving it very well so that suits me.
“The conditions might be hard tomorrow which will suit me if I’m hitting it well but we won’t know until we get here. One thing I do know is that you can’t think about winning tomorrow.”
Few will pay Allan much attention unless and until he is in the frame Sunday afternoon and that is understandable.
But if he does manage to get there he agrees with the assessment of Geoff Ogilvy yesterday that experience at winning is of little use until late Sunday afternoon. And then it is worth its weight in gold.
“The first few times I was in the mix late in a tournament I remember not doing too well,” he says. “The first time was in the final round of the Australian PGA then the next week I was paired with Greg Norman in the third round of the Australian Open.
“I remember sitting down that night and thinking ‘I made that a lot harder than it needed to be’.
“Getting nervous about hitting nine-irons into greens and just letting the situation get to you. It takes a bit of time to get used to playing in those situations.”
For now, though, Allan is just happy to still be playing. Having endured both the highs and lows of the game for the bulk of his adult life he confirms it’s ‘better than selling insurance’.
Though on reflection, he adjusts his position to note: “Depends how much insurance you’re selling, of course!”