Date: February 21, 2009
Author: Chris Pike, Sportal

McGowan shoots for glory

Englishman Ross McGowan is hoping to secure the biggest win of his fledgling career when he takes a share of the lead into the final round of the Johnnie Walker Classic on Sunday. McGowan, 26, only turned professional in 2006 and has won twice on the European Challenge circuit, but a win at the Vines in Perth over a quality field would be his biggest triumph. His brilliant seven-under 65 on Saturday followed rounds of 70 and 67 and put him on top of the leaderboard at 14-under alongside fellow Brit John Bickerton. After being close in early rounds at some European Tour events, McGowan is ecstatic at being in contention to win at the Vines heading into the final day. “It&aposs been two or three tournaments that I&aposve been a couple of shots behind in really. At the Portuguese Open a couple of years ago, I led after 36 holes and the Italian Open as well last year after the first round,” McGowan said. “It&aposs nice to lead and you never know, I might hold it again at the end of tomorrow. It&aposs where you want to be and with a good round tomorrow we&aposll see where it goes.” McGowan hit seven birdies and no bogeys on Saturday, a round that gave him a huge amount of confidence going into the final day. “I just hit the ball nicely really, hit a lot of fairways and around here you can do that and the second and third shots aren&apost too tough. I just played solidly and hit the ball fairly close to about 10 foot most of the day, and made a few putts,” he said. “It&aposs very balanced and you can make a lot of birdies out there, and several guys have proven that.” “I&aposve struggled in the Middle East a little bit, but came out with a bit of work at home and played in Malaysia last week and felt it improving every day. It has been the same thing this week, I feel I&aposm getting better each day.” The heat has been a factor for all players this week as temperatures soared to about 40 degrees over the past two days – but Englishman McGowan is doing his best to handle it. “I&aposve just been drinking a lot of water and staying in the shade when I can. I drank a lot of water the last few days,” he said. “I played in Australia once before, in Melbourne at Huntingdale. I struggled there the first 27 holes and from what I remember, made the cut on the number. I finished 11th in the end and played really nice over the last two-and-a-half rounds.”