Date: February 24, 2008
Author: Luke Buttigieg at Moonah Links

Pressure on Porter at final turn

Ewan Porter still leads after the third round of the Moonah Classic but has Wayne Perske and Terry Price breathing down his neck at Moonah Links. Having feared that a neck injury he suffered while warming up in the gym on Saturday morning would force him out, Porter underwent physiotherapy and took some pain killers that allowed him to come out and add a second-straight one-under 71. But while the 25-year-old showed few obvious signs of the ailment, particularly as the day wore on, Price&aposs third successive 70 and a 72 from Porter&aposs playing partner Perske, who chipped in for eagle at the last, have them well in touch at minus six. One stroke further adrift is American Tee McCabe, who grabbed an eagle at the last to jump to outright fourth, and his compatriots Fran Quinn (71) and DJ Brigman (68) are tied for fifth place on four-under, Brigman thanks to an eagle, six birdies and four bogeys. “Commitment was the biggest key for me today,” Brigman said. “You are stepping up there and you don&apost know if you have the right club. You have to just commit to what you have, (and) that&aposs what I did.” “You are going to make mistakes in conditions like this. I went into the day knowing I was going to make some bogeys. I just had to follow up with some birdies and I was able to do that.” Australian Alistair Presnell came home strongly with three back-nine birdies for a 70 and a share of seventh with Argentine Fabian Gomez, whose 68 contained six birdies and a couple of bogeys. The top 10 is rounded out by Canadian Bryan Decorso (70), American Bret Guetz (71) and recent Mexico Open champion Jarrod Lyle, whose 68 was a mix of six birdies, including three from the first four holes, and a pair of bogeys. Adam Crawford was another who shot 68 and is in joint 12th place with Ricky Barnes (72) and Gibby Gilbert III on one-under, while Rick Kulacz slumped to a 77 and even par alongside Brendon De Jonge (71), Bryce Molder (73) and Scott Gutschewski (69). After heavy overnight rain fell, the players were largely greeted by blue skies on day three of the tournament on Victoria&aposs Mornington Peninsula but the wind that battered them on Friday again played havoc as it swirled around and reached gale-force strength. Porter&aposs round didn&apost begin in the best fashion when he bogeyed the 2nd to fall one behind Perske, but he responded with a birdie at the 3rd and regained the outright lead when Perske made bogey there. After four holes Porter suddenly led by three strokes when he followed up with an eagle, and Perske was unable to capitalise on a second Porter bogey at the 7th when he likewise bogeyed the hole. Porter&aposs lead increased to four shots when he birdied the 9th, and grew further to five strokes when Perske dropped his third shot of the day at the 10th, before Porter&aposs second bogey at 12 came moments before Brigman eagled the 15th. Suddenly his lead was back to just two shots and that was as close as anyone came to him until Price came home with four birdies in six holes and then Perske holed out at 18, with Porter missing a six-foot birdie putt that would have given him a two-shot cushion.