To borrow a cliche, Day 3 was a “game of two halves”. It involved the completion of the rain delayed second round and the commencement of moving day, when the contenders get serious.
Completion of the 2nd round
John Daly missed the cut by six shots after finishing his second round at even par (72) to his first round six-over 78, the third consecutive tournament in Australia where the two-time major winner failed to make the cut. Daly proved ever popular with the gallery, who tried their best through rousing cheers to somehow carry their hero through the final rounds.
Daly proved popular on and off the course. He was polite in interviews before and during the tournament. In an act of generosity, Daly even gave a set of his clubs to a fan.
Unfortunately, Daly’s reputation meant his every move was put under the microscope by the news hungry media. Daly’s disappointing 1st round was the catalyst to his eruption on the eighteenth with a fan’s camera. The event was reported around the world and again Daly’s behaviour became a focal point rather than his golf. Hopefully that won’t be his last appearance in Australia. Daly’s popularity with the galleries demonstrated that they’d like to see him return.
Also missing the cut were defending champion Craig Parry and 2001 winner Stuart Appleby (2-over), Won Joon Lee (1-over), James Nitties (4-over) and Greg Chalmers (3-over).
3rd round highlights
After two days of dreadful weather and the second round carried over until Saturday morning due to heavy rain, players were offered some respite with clear, sunny conditions and they responded with plenty of low scores. Andrew Stolz (66) and Steven Bowditch (66) threatened to break the course record of 65 before the wind picked up late in the day.
They are chasing New Zealand golfer David Smail, who battled a lack of sleep, intense heat and strong winds to fight his way to the top of the leader board with a two under third-round (70).
Smail was forced to get up at 4.35am to complete his rain delayed second round, then head back out to start round three after a short break.
Despite playing 31 holes in a day in testing conditions, Smail is one good round away from breaking a three-year win drought and adding the Australian Open to his New Zealand and Japan Open titles.
“I’ve just about had it. I feel like a shower right now,” a battle weary Smail said after completing the third round.
“It’s tough. It’s brutal out there. You’re getting attacked by sand flying out of bunkers and it was hot.”
“I’m feeling a bit ‘had it’ but somehow you just do it – you have to.”
“We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. I will just keep trying to swing it good.”
Smail sits at 11 under, a stroke ahead of Andre Stolz (66) with Ewan Porter (72) and overnight leader Stephen Dartnall (75) a further three shots back on eight-under.
In familiar fashion, at seven-under and lurking within reach of the pace setters is two-time former Open champion Robert Allenby (71). American Paul Goydos and South African Tim Clark, are 4 under and sitting at T17.
With fine but windy conditions forecast, who will emerge from the pack to win the title is by no means clear. One this is certain, the final day will prove enthralling. Stay tuned to THP for our report of championship day.