Date: February 21, 2009
Author: Chris Pike at the Vines, Sportal

Two Englishmen on top

Englishmen Ross McGowan and John Bickerton both shot brilliant third rounds at the Johnnie Walker Classic at the Vines in Perth to be tied for the lead at 14-under heading into the last day. McGowan shot a third round of 65 and Bickerton 66, but Raphael Jacquelin, Felipe Aguilar, Terry Pilkadaris and Danny Lee are all just behind on 12-under. Overnight leaders Anthony Kang and Damien McGrane started the day&aposs play at 10-under par, but Kang fell to five-under and McGrane remained the same after the pair had indifferent rounds. American Anthony Kim, perhaps the most recognisable face in the field after Greg Norman and Camilo Villegas missed the cut, had a horror three-over round to be out of contention at five-under after his three rounds. His day was ruined almost before it started with a nine on the par-five third hole. McGowan was the first to finish on 14-under and his round of 65 included two birdies on the front nine before a scintillating 31 on the back nine with five birdies. The 26-year-old has won twice on the challenger tour before, but this would be the biggest win of his career. Bickerton, who has missed his last four tournament cuts, played himself right into contention with a round of 66 that included six birdies and 12 pars. The 39-year-old has won three times on the European Tour, most notably the 2006 French Open and 2008 Alfred Dunhill Championship. Frenchman Jacquelin was in an early tee-off group and had a faultless round of 66 to be leading at 12-under when he came into the clubhouse. However, he is now two shots behind McGowan and Bickerton. Also at 12-under is New Zealand amateur Lee, Chile&aposs Aguilar and the leading Australian Pilkadaris. Aguilar began the day at eight-under and shot a 68 in a round that included four birdies and no bogeys. Pilkadaris shot the same score of 68, but his round was very different including a double bogey, but six birdies. Lee could be the story of the week, though, with the 18-year-old shooting 69 after rounds of 67 and 68 the first two days. He had a chance to move to 13-under with an eagle putt at the 18th, but had to settle for a birdie and 12-under. The winner could still come outside of the top six, though, with five players tied at 11-under and another six at 10-under. Korea&aposs Bae Sang-Moon, Australia&aposs Michael Sim, Holland&aposs Robert-Jan Derksen, Japan&aposs Hiroyuki Fujita and Spain&aposs Ignacio Garrido are all tied at 11-under par, with Sweden&aposs Niclas Fasth, Northern Ireland&aposs Gareth Maybin, Ireland&aposs Peter Lawrie, Australia&aposs Peter Senior and Andrew Dodt, and McGrane a shot further back. Lee Westwood, Won Joon Lee, Taichiro Kiyota, David Frost and Adam Blyth could also pull off a surprise win with a brilliant final round starting at nine-under. For Kang, it has been a disappointing round as he attempts to win consecutive tournaments after his success last week at the Malaysian Open. He shot a double bogey, five bogeys and only two birdies to finish with a five-over par 77 for the day. McGrane&aposs round wasn&apost quite as dramatic, but only managed an even round to remain at his overnight score of 10-under. After two scorching hot days nearing 40 degrees, Sunday is expected to not exceed 30 which will be a great relief to all players as the heat in the Swan Valley, where the Vines is located, can be tough to handle.