Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Grant Forrest on qualifying tightrope as heat then storm halts Aussie Amateur 

Play at the Australian Amateur Championships was suspended for the day long before darkness fell at the Victoria venue.
Extreme heat forced players from Melbourne’s Metropolitan and Kingswood golf courses at 3.50pm, then just as the field was returning to position for a 6pm (local time) resumption, lightning and fierce winds sent players and spectators scurrying again to the clubhouse.
A combination of lightning and strong winds then forced officials’ hands at 6.30pm.
The last groups have 13 holes of their second round left to play, with none of the 156-strong afternoon field having finished.
Play will resume at 6.45am (local time) on Thursday morning.
Taking into account potential play-offs for the final qualifying spots into the second phase, officials plan to start the match-play rounds at approximately noon.
The first round of match-play will be played in groups of four with tee times until approximately 4pm, hopefully allowing the full round to be completed and have the tournament back on schedule by Friday.
Play had been scheduled to resume at 6pm Melbourne time after more than two hours were lost to extreme heat with the official temperature exceeding 42C (114F).
But just as players were returning to position, an imminent lightning warning was issued and Golf Australia officials ushered everyone off the Metropolitan and Kingswood golf courses, Victoria
The official #AusAm policy revolves around a Bureau of Meteorology “feels-like” temperature of 39C which was never reached, but the move was made to uphold players’ safety with some visibly feeling the pinch.
There were some fine scores earlier, but very few were in train among the later groups when play was suspended.
World No.22 Grant Forrest from the Craigielaw club has his hopes of reaching the match-play stages hanging by a thread midway through his round.
The Scottish ace, with a double bogey 7 at the long seventh and other shots dropped at the second, fifth and ninth, made some uncharacteristic errors in a front nine of four-over-par 41 (one birdies, at the long sixth) at Metropolitan and slumped towards the borderline of the top 64 men who will advance to the matchplay phase.
Forrest is currently three over in total, right on the projected limit number on a wildly fluctuating day. There are 13 players tied on the three over par mark, most of whom have still to complete their third rounds.
Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden) is four under par and in joint fourth position overall with 14 holes to play.
Connor Syme (Drumoig) is level par after nine holes and T20.
Jack McDonald (Barassie) is two over pat after nine holes and in T43 position.
Sydney’s Kevin Yuan continues to lead despite battling slightly at Kingswood. The new Metropolitan amateur course record holder – after his 64 on Tuesday – was one over today to be seven under and only one clear of impressive Hills International School player Charles Pilon who’s safely in the clubhouse at six under after an even-par 72 at Kingswood this morning.
The best score this morning was from New Zealander Lachie McDonald who carded an entertaining 67 at Metropolitan.
The Palmerston North ace mixed eight birdies and an eagle amid three bogeys and a double to all but wrap up his matchplay berth.
“I’ve had nine birdies in a round before, but it’s really nice to have it in such an important event on this quality of course, too,” McDonald said.
“I’ve never played this well in an event of this stature, so it’s really nice.
“I hit 14 greens yesterday and shot five over, so a couple of bad shots punished me. But I came out today and the putter was rolling, so I just believed in myself and away I went.”
The affable McDonald, considering turning pro if his trip to Australasian PGA Tour school next week goes well, said that style of play would hopefully suit him in the knockout phase.
“If I can that round again, it will be fairly helpful because the odd bogey won’t matter as much. I’m a really confident match-player, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.


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