Victorian Brett Coletta is in the box seal to emulate another 20-year old golfer from his state who last won the Isuzu Queensland Open as an amateur 25 years ago.
In 1991, Stuart Appleby took the T.B. Hunter Cup at The Brisbane Golf Club where Coletta will tomorrow take a four-stroke lead into the final round.
Appleby wore shorts and long socks when he won by three-shots over Adelaide pro Mike Sprengel.
Showing composure beyond his years, Coletta, birdied the 18th hole today for a third round 67 to be at seven-under for the tournament.
“I felt like I had everything under control and was very solid out there. It wasn’t as easy as it looked, it was quite breezy.
“I try to stay as composed as I can on the golf course.
“I have one round to go and have got to keep my head straight, steady and see where it takes me.’’
Coletta leads fellow Victorian Lucas Herbert and Sydney’s Dale Brandt-Richards by four-shots with a further stroke to Kiwi Mark Brown and Max McCardle (SA). He played a lot of amateur golf with Herbert and Brandt-Richards prior to them turning professional this year.
Coletta’s performance to bounce back from the disappointment of a one-shot loss at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Korea two weeks ago has been admirable. A win in that prestigious event would have yielded a start in the 2017 US Masters.
“It still stings thinking about it now,’’ said Coletta. “Missing out on a chance to play at Augusta…
“But I am so proud of myself and how I’ve come back this week to be in a perfect position.
“It is going to be such a different day tomorrow, playing in the last group and experiencing different emotions.’’
Brandt-Richards, 26, had two eagles in his round of 67, including on the half-million dollar hole-in-on jackpot par-4, 15th.
“I hit a 2-iron to 15ft and made the putt,’’ he said. “And I also holed out from 57m on the second hole.
“I struck it a lot better today than I did on Friday when I hit only eight greens in regulation. It was one of my best scrambling rounds as a pro.’’
Only five players managed to find the green with their tee shots on the 265m, par-4, 15th which boasts the massive hole-in-one bonus.
New South Welshmen Brandt-Richards said he would not get carried away with playing in the final group on Sunday.
“It would be really nice to win, but I’m just looking at trying to give myself birdie chances,’’ he said.
Herbert, an exciting player, started the third round as joint leader but crashed with three successive bogies from the sixth hole. He fought back on the homeward nine for a 71 to be at three-under for 54 holes.
Experienced New Zealander Brown played steadily but made bogey on the 18th for a 71 to be two-under.
Conversely, McCardle holed his bunker shot for birdie on the last to also card 71 and share fourth place.
At one-under, and six shots off the pace are Ryan Lynch (65), Gareth Paddison (68) and Adam Stephens (71).
Lynch struck the ball beautifully to grab five birdies and did not concede a bogey.
Only eight players are under-par after 54 holes as tricky breezes and slick greens continue to make low-scoring difficulty.
7-under: B Coletta (am Vic)
3-under: D Brandt-Richards (NSW), L Herbert (Vic)
2-under: M McCardle (SA), M Brown (NZ)
1-under: R Lynch (Vic), G Paddison (NZ), A Stephens (NSW)