A final-hole birdie has kept Blake Windred in with a chance of wresting the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in Shanghai.
After dominating the opening two days, moving day proved troublesome for Novocastrian, and the late birdie came at the ideal time.
“Hitting that iron shot into the last, and rolling that birdie in felt good,” a relieved Windred said post-round.
Within minutes of his putt dropping, playing partner Ren Yonezawa gifted Windred a share of the lead when he failed to make his par.
Yonezawa’s miss has left the tournament delicately poised with a four-way tie at the top at eight under. Alongside Windred, and Yonezawa, are Chinese Taipei’s Yung -Hua Liu, and another Japanese player, Yoti Katsuragawa, with another ten golfers within five shots of the lead
Earlier, Windred looked all business as he set about consolidating his position on top of the leaderboard.
Four pars and a birdie on the 5th saw him stretch the lead to four. However, the moving day gremlins were about to bite.
A run of four of bogeys in five holes from the 8th to the 12th meant Windred had suddenly found himself in the unfamiliar position of the hunter, not the hunted.
Windred eventually settled, and despite a misbehaving swing managed to complete the final six holes in one under par, to keep his chances of the lifting the trophy alive.
Asked about whether he thought he would still be in the lead despite shooting over par after his round, Windred was succinct.
“I did want to make a few birdies out there, and I wasn’t able to do that.
“It’s been a very rough day.
“The lead sounds nice. I didn’t know I still had it, but I’ll take it.
Although Windred has a vast amount of big-time amateur tournament experience under his belt, the reward on offer for the winner and the difficulty of the course is always going to tax even the most hardened player.
“I felt like showed a lot of character today, that was the main thing.
“I could’ve easily let it slip. This is a tough course, and you have to stay so mentally focused.”
“I just didn’t hit it as well today. Missing fairways and missing greens make it difficult to score.
Asked about the key to victory in tomorrow’s final round, Windred was quick to reply.
“I’ll be looking to hit fairways and greens tomorrow because I know I will make the putts,” he grinned.