Harrison Crowe has already won three times this year, including both the NSW Amateur and NSW Open, and he has a chance to add another prestigious title to his resume on Sunday in Thailand.
The 21-year-old put together a bogey-free round of 67, despite some hairy moments, to sit at 13-under-par and the leader of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship held at Amata Spring Country Club.
The St. Michael’s Golf Club member’s advantage is two shots to overnight leader Bo Jin of China and Saturday playing partner Minhyuk Song.
Having seemingly rediscovered his confidence after a tough trot in Europe and America over the northern summer, Crowe was out of the blocks perfectly with a birdie at the par-4 1st, another birdie coming at the par-5 7th to see him make the turn in two-under.
“Really just stayed out of trouble for the most part. I really just kept myself in the right spots and gave myself a lot of looks at birdie,” Crowe said after his round. “I just played really solid. It was nerve free and stress free golf for sure.”
That “stress free” golf did have its moments on the back nine on Saturday after Crowe made back-to-back birdies to start the inward half.
A hooked tee shot on the par-4 14th saw his ball amongst vegetation but with a fortunate lie that he managed to extricate himself from and save par.
“I just hit the shot that I wasn’t supposed to hit that I couldn’t hit. And I was lucky I found it and thought ‘just get it back in play and have a look’,” he said of the 14th hole.
Have a look he did as his 20 foot par putt fell to keep him at 12-under and in front of a condensed chasing pack.
Disappointed to not take advantage of his good drive at the par-5 next, Crowe hit his shot of the day at the penultimate hole.
The unique island green par-3 requires a short boat ride to the green, one where Crowe enjoyed feeding the fish off the side earlier in the week. And it was a happy journey today having stuffed his 9-iron to within a few feet that he easily converted.
“Little smooth one, tried to keep it a little bit lower under the wind and it was a great line and the perfect distance. Pretty happy with that,” he said of the shot.
His tee shot at the next looked as if he was anything but happy as he took one hand off the club post impact, but it found the fairway and another birdie chance went begging as his putt came up one roll short.
Crowe certainly thought he had made the putt to extend his advantage to three, dropping to his knees before tapping in to remain in touch of those chasing with 18 holes to play.
Of those chasing, Crowe’s fellow New South Welshman Jeffrey Guan will have to find something very special after a third round 68 to sit at six-under.
Playing the course back to front, Guan made his lone bogey of the day at the 18th and believes as the course continues to get harder over the weekend that he is more of a chance of pulling out something special and challenging his Australian teammate.
“I was really looking forward to just a good round today, it was quite windy at the start, kept my cool, especially coming down 17 and 18 (8th and 9th), down that stretch was really tough,” Guan said. “The last was all the way at the back, straight into 35 kms. I managed to pull away a pretty good round today.
“I would think that I would definitely need a low one tomorrow. I definitely have that in me I think. Just a couple more putts dropping then hopefully six- or seven-under.”