Date: February 06, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Oh sheds rust, but is it too late?

You have to trot quickly to catch up with Su Oh at the Oates Vic Open this week.

The 19-year-old Victorian has been in high-profile groups and slipped past potential media queries as those players dealt with post-round questions.

It’s not that she’s shying away, far from it.

It’s more that Oh, a member of Golf Australia’s rookie squad, is dealing with tournament rust and she’s all but jogging to the range after each round to keep chipping it away.

But almost anonymously, the reigning Australian Ladies Masters champion has climbed through the field to seventh.

Yes, she’s still six behind English leader Georgia Hall.

Yes, things would have to go VERY right tomorrow for her to go one better than last year’s runner-up finish at 13th Beach.

But she’s been here before – Oh charged to the lead briefly after starting in a similar position here a year ago – and her increasingly powerful ball-striking is definitely coming around.

You just never know.

Neither does Oh.

“Ummm, they’re a long way ahead,” Oh said of the six women ahead of her, including defending champion Marianne Skarpnord, who’s two off the pace.

“But ….”

Oh is never one to brag, or talk up her own chances.

And she’s a little reluctant to consider the possibility as she pounds out balls on the range alongside caddie and confidant Mike Clayton.

But after playing a bogey-free third round of 70, she’s there. She has to be considered. She’s too good not to be mentioned.

“I think Georgia is so far ahead and Marianne is playing so well, too … but I am playing better each day,” she said.

“I’m just battling to get things together. I just can’t get a score together, but yeah, if I have a good day, they’re in reach – just.

“All I can do is keep hitting good shots and putt better, but it depends on what they (the leaders) do now.

“I just have to learn how to score better again and I haven’t played a tournament for a while, so I hope it’s coming, but I just don’t know if it will be tomorrow.”

Rest assured, if a couple of putts finally turn south early tomorrow, there will be plenty of support for the delightful Melburnian.

And scoreboard pressure can do funny things – especially with alternating groups with the men’s field meaning she’ll be a couple of holes ahead of the final trio.

“I’m really not sure. I’d have to do it early.”

It might not happen.

Then again, it just might.