Date: November 17, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Stunning rounds set up thrilling #AAAC finale

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The wind howled, the birdies flowed and the field of the Australian All Abilities Championship, presented by ISPS Handa, compacted to set up a thrilling Sunday finale at The Lakes.

The leading three-ball played well in the whipping breeze, but they were overshadowed by a pair of enormous performances ahead of them as Aussie youngster Cameron Pollard and popular Spaniard Juan Postigo roared back into the mix with a pair of 78s.

Pollard, who has autism, is the reigning club champion at Sawtell, near Coffs Harbour, but the 19-year-old has never played a round quite like the one that netted him five birdies from the back tees to savage pins and in front of a large gallery roaring his achievements.

Asked is he would trade his 78 if any of the pros who couldn’t muster that figure came begging, Pollard smiled and said: “I won’t let ‘em trade with me, not that one.

“I’m pretty proud of that one, it’s one of my better rounds.

“It’s pretty much a dream come true to do that in front of a big crowd.

“It doesn’t get much better, hopefully I’m a chance tomorrow, that would mean a lot.”

Postigo, the reigning European champion whose balance and power on his one leg has dazzled Sydney galleries all week, was almost as happy with his round.

He was equally as proud that he and his colleagues in the inaugural championship of its kind being played inclusively with a national Open had shown better form collectively after many battled nerves on day one on Friday.

“Yesterday, none of us played good golf, we were nervous, the conditions were difficult and it was a big occasion, so it was tough for all of us as a mix of all those things,” Postigo said.

“But today we were more focused on our golf as a group, and myself, to shoot a 78 I’m happy with because it wasn’t easy.

“I felt comfortable; yesterday I didn’t feel like a player, but today I was a player, I gave my best, didn’t shoot my best round but 78 in these conditions is quite special.”

At +24, Postigo is now in sixth place, trailing Swedish leader Johan Kammerstad (+16) by just eight strokes, with Adem Wahbi (+18), Brendan Lawlor (+19), Geoff Nicholas and Pollard (both +21) also in the title mix.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, definitely,” world No.2 Postigo said.

“I felt good things today that will help me tomorrow – the feelings are back, Juan is back, I’ll be humble tomorrow, but I’m going to be in the fight.”

Kammerstad, who has a 20cm leg length difference, was impressive for the second consecutive day, his 82 coming on what he described as “the most difficult conditions I’ve ever played in”.

“The pin positions were extremely tough and the wind wasn’t helping. The greens are very undulating and you have to be on the right spot on them to have any chance.

“I wanted to do better than 82, of course, but it’s fine … I’m still confident for tomorrow.”

One big thing in the Swede’s favour is that he was, remarkably, not flustered at all by the galleries.

“I have the same feeling like I’m playing in front of 10 people, I didn’t get hat nervous. I thought I would be, but I’m in my own little place, so it’s good for me.”