The cream rose to the top at the ISPS Handa Perth International on Saturday, with Americans Bo Van Pelt and Jason Dufner charging to the top of the leaderboard. Van Pelt leads the tournament by one stroke after holing a superb 15-metre birdie putt at the 18th to move to 12 under the card, with Dufner a shot behind. Both men carded brilliant five-under-par 67s at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club, overhauling Argentine youngster Emiliano Grillo, who shot a one-over-par 73 to finish on 10 under. Dufner, the world No.10, was superb – signing for a 67 that was peppered with wonderful strokes. He dropped a shot at the first but responded strongly with an eagle at the third. After dropping another shot at the fifth, he began his charge at the seventh with a brilliant long-range chip for birdie. Further birdies at nine, 10, 11 and 12 had him in a share of the lead with Grillo at 11 under and although he could not improve on that score, he will fancy his chances of coming up trumps on Sunday. Playing with Van Pelt, Grillo was nerveless before the turn, but his shoulders started to slump after dropping shots at 10 and 11. He bounced back well, however, birdying 12 and 13 to regain the ascendancy. Englishman David Howell and Spain&aposs Alejandro Canizares are the next best, three shots behind Grillo on seven under. Greg Chalmers and Steven Jones are the best placed of the Australians on six under. Jones, 28, shot a terrific 68 early in the day, while Chalmers signed for 69. The Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship winner notched a string of birdies at 13, 14 and 15 but will be ruing his wayward approach to 18 that cost him a shot. The Australian duo is level with New Zealand&aposs Michael Hendry. Hendry was responsible for one of the more astonishing shots of the day when his approach at the 11th found the bunker, only to bounce out and redirect itself toward the pin, setting up an eagle putt. Australians Jason Scrivener and Andre Stolz are seven shots off the lead on five under, where they are joined by Welshman Rhys Davies.
Author: Greig Johnston at Lake Karrinyup, Omnisport