They’re yet to hit top gear in Singapore but Dave Micheluzzi and Min Woo Lee will need to go full throttle on Sunday if one of them is to win the 2018 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
The pair started the day three shots off the pace and after matching 1-under 69s they will enter the final round four back of China’s Yuxin Lin.
The defending champion produced the lowest round of his life on Saturday, an 8-under 62, and is now in the box seat to go back-to-back and book return trips to The Masters and The Open.
Lin admitted he’d signed for a 65 “about seven times” but today’s 62 “is way lower” than any number he’s previously posted.
Those are the kind of numbers Micheluzzi and Lee will be eyeing off on Sunday, currently sitting at 6-under for the championship.
As has been the story for the Australians for most of the week, the duo did brilliantly to stay out of trouble on Saturday but couldn’t capitalise when a good chance at birdie presented itself.
“I hit it good the first few holes, gave myself quite a few opportunities and just didn’t convert,” said Micheluzzi.
“I missed a few greens in the middle of the round.
“I’ve got to go scuba on the first nine holes and really get myself into the tournament and go bananas on the back nine.”
Lee and Micheluzzi were on the par-5 16th when play was suspended for two hours due to the threat of lightning, but both were resilient in parring their way back to the clubhouse after play resumed.
“I treat this as a major and if you’re only four behind in a major then happy days,” said a positive Lee.
“Holing that 15-footer [on 16], I had to wait for two hours just to have that putt. On a par-5 as well, it’s not ideal so I was just happy to hole it.”
The three Australians to hit the clubhouse before the weather delay were also left unfulfilled by their morning efforts, Zach Murray settling for a second straight round of 1-under 69 to be 2-under for the week and eight behind the leader.
Needing a bold showing to leap into calculations, the Victorian didn’t take his chances on the New Tanjong course as the leaders charged ahead.
“I’m playing a lot better than I’m scoring,” said Murray.
“Today I just missed a lot of opportunities. I was getting pretty frustrated.”
“I probably missed five or six really good birdie opportunities in the first 12 holes.”
He vowed to fire at the pins heading into the weekend and Dylan Perry followed through on Saturday morning.
Perry notched four birdies in his first nine holes, before two late bogies saw him card a disappointing 1-under 69, taking him to 1-under through three rounds.
“Turned 3-under and was really feeling it today. I let a few slide through 10, 11 and 12 and lost a bit of momentum,” said Perry.
“Today was probably my best ball-striking day and if I’d putted today like I yesterday, I probably would have put a decent score on the board.”
Meanwhile, Blake Windred signed for an even-par 70 on the back of a brave fightback, after the New South Welshman recorded four bogies in his opening eight holes.
But birdies at 1, 4 and 9 saw Windred climb back to a 1-over total with one round to play.
After withdrawing on Friday afternoon due to heatstroke, Queenslander Shae Wools-Cobb was taken to hospital on Saturday morning, but is recovering well.