Date: February 22, 2009
Author: Chris Pike, Sportal

Pilkadaris, Sim excited to be in the hunt

Australia&aposs top-two at the Johnnie Walker Classic are Perth locals Terry Pilkadaris and Michael Sim, and both are excited to be within sight of the two leaders after interesting rounds on Saturday. Pilkadaris finished Saturday&aposs third round with a four-under par 68 to be 12-under for the tournament, just two behind leaders Ross McGowan and John Bickerton. Sim, playing at home in Perth for the first time since 2006, hit his best round of the week, a five-under 67, to move to 11-under and in contention to win the tournament. Pilkadaris is feeling good after solid performances after a Christmas break where he got away from golf, and is confident of performing well on the final day. “I was at the Volvo Masters a month ago and I was about six back but caught up with them, but we&aposll just take it one shot at a time. I finished third there in the end, then had a big one-day Pro Am in Melbourne in January that I won, finished 10th at the Victorian Open so it&aposs going pretty good,” Pilkadaris said. “I had a break over Christmas, I was burned out and I didn&apost miss golf at all for those four weeks. I need to get the driver out. The long game is a little bit off but keep the putter going and anything could happen. I&aposll work on the range again to iron out the kinks and should be right.” Pilkadaris&apos third round was once again solid after he shot 70 and 66 the first two days, but it wasn&apost without its hiccups. The 35-year-old said that he fell asleep on the way to the 10th hole where he shot a double bogey, but outside of that his round consisted of six birdies and pars the rest of the way. “It was good. I started off well with a birdie on two, then scrambled four, five and six before birdying seven and nine. I then fell asleep in the golf cart driving to the 10th tee, I was enjoying the drive too much. I made an absolute mess of my tee-shot at the 10, but apart from that it was pretty solid,” he said. “I was putting really well. I holed everything I looked at and when you do that you are going to score well, so it&aposs just a matter of keeping in play and giving yourself chances.” Sim is glad that he got the chance to play at home in Western Australia again, however it won&apost be a big night on the town before the final round. “It&aposs great to play at home. I haven&apost played at home for three years and that was as an amateur at the 2006 Johnnie Walker, so I&aposll have a lot of support out here that will hopefully carry me through,” Sim said. “I&aposve got a few friends staying at my house who are playing the tournament, Mitchell Brown and Tristan Lambert, so I&aposll probably just go home and watch the Geelong-Adelaide match and keep an eye on the players in my dream team.” After rounds of 69 the first two days, Sim took a while to warm up after an early start on Saturday, but finished up with seven birdies and two bogeys in an impressive round of 67 while using his trusty old putter. “I played really good golf today. I started off with a nice birdie on the fourth, went onto birdie five, seven and eight, and then managed to hole a long putt on 10 to keep the momentum going. It was nice to finish with birdies on 17 and 18 as well,” he said. “I hit the ball really well the last two rounds but this morning it was early and I didn&apost have much sleep. I didn&apost hit the ball as well as I did the first two rounds, but I made a lot more putts. I changed my putter about 10 minutes before going to the first tee and putted great, so I was happy with that decision.”