Mark Brown has recorded two back nine eagles to stay in control at the Carrus Open and lead by one-shot over Kerry Mountcastle on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour.
Entering the final round of the season, Brown is the bookies favourite and will be aiming for history as he searches for his fourth straight Carrus Open (fifth in six years) at the Tauranga Golf Club today.
After Friday’s sublime round of 59 which included nine birdies and an eagle, things weren’t as easy today as he struggled through his opening nine with only one birdie. But his flying finish that included two eagles for a round of four-under, 66 has secured him an overnight lead.
His first eagle was next to the racecourse (13th) where his tee shot kept the punters interested and was looking certain to join the gallops before bouncing off a concrete pole to fly onto the other side of the fairway. From there he took full advantage to make an unlikely eagle.
“Yeah it was a grind, I didn’t play well at all and I got a bit lucky on the back nine as well to get to four-under.”
It only got better for Brown who then holed out with a wedge from 100 metres on the 16th to grab control of the tournament once again.
“It was about the only good shot I hit all day so I got away with it really. To win this tournament you have to be pretty in control of your game and I didn’t have that today,” said a determined Brown.
His biggest threat is the New Zealand Stroke Play champion, Kerry Mountcastle who has continued to impress all summer and with his clinical round of six-under, 64 he is more than a chance against the bookies favourite in Brown.
“I’m really looking forward to Sunday, I like the course here so I can’t wait to get out there and give it a good crack,” said Mountcastle.
“I always feel like I can win, so here’s hoping it happens today.”
The other major match-up was in the race to the Jennian Homes Trophy between Daniel Pearce and James Anstiss, which has swung massively back in favour of Pearce who now has a firm grip of the trophy.
Anstiss had to win this week to have a chance at the title, but with a challenging round of one-under par today while playing in the final group, he now sits five strokes behind Brown which seems a hurdle too high entering the final round.
Brittney Dryland will be aiming for a wire-to-wire victory tomorrow at the Carrus Open after ending the third round with a one-shot advantage in the final event on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour.
With a steady round of one-under par which featured many great par saves, she now has a slim lead over fellow Aucklander, Caryn Khoo.
“I felt pretty calm and wasn’t trying to think about the score at all which was pretty good,” said Dryland.
“I just scrambled really well, it was a bit ‘grindy’ out there, so I was happy to get up and down on a few clutch occasions.”
Today could turn into a two-player shootout with the next best in line being Carmen Lim who is three behind Khoo. But Dryland’s confidence is sky high with the knowledge that she can go low here at the Tauranga Golf Club.
“I have never got to six-under before, so that was definitely my best career score and it fills me with plenty of confidence to know I can do it, so hopefully it can happen again,” smiled Dryland.
Although she is based in Auckland, Tauranga has a very homely feel to it with her parents living here and the results of being back at home are clearly very good with all her favourite treats on the menu.
“It’s pretty good staying at home having mum’s food and brownies too!”
The final round of the final event of the season will tee off from 9:00am today and with three trophies on the line, it’s going to be a stunning finale to what has already been an amazing season.