Barbieri, Kim set for final round thriller

David Tease
January 30, 2020

Nathan Barbieri has grabbed a share of the lead in the men’s division, while Grace Kim holds a three-shot margin in the women’s after the third round of the Avondale Amateur Championship today.

The State representatives will be out to grab their first Avondale Amateur crowns in tomorrow’s final round after enduring contrasting summers to date.

For Kim, it could be her second title in as many attempts after her triumph in the NSW Amateur at St. Michael’s last week, while for Barbieri, it will be a just reward from a run of four gruelling tournaments in a row.

Kim, who started the day with a three-shot lead, got off to a rocky start today, dropping shots on the third, fourth and fifth to momentarily lose her lead to a red-hot Minju Kim. The loss was only going to be short-lived, however, and the home course heroine grabbed the lead back shortly after with a birdie on the 9th.

As the afternoon conditions toughened, Kim ensured three more birdies on the homeward nine would be enough to ensure she made it to the clubhouse with a comfortable buffer for tomorrow’s final round.

Sitting behind Kim is a trio of international visitors, Minju Kim, New Zealand’s Fiona Xu and Japan’s Tsubasa Kajitani.

The men’s division is set for a thrilling conclusion with ten players within three shots of the lead, which is held by Nathan Barbieri and the winner of last week’s NSW Amateur, Benjamin Schmidt.

The pair find themselves at 11 under par, with six players breathing down their necks, just one shot back.

The pair, who played together in the final group of the day, put on a stellar display of shot-making, highlighted by a hole-out eagle on the par-four 12th for Schmidt.

The Englishman’s shot was good enough for a momentary share of the lead, but Barbieri’s birdie on the same hole kept the buffer at one.

The pair traded shots for the remainder of the round before Schmidt levelled the score after a birdie on the 16th.

The four proved enough to ensure a share of the lead at the end of the round, and another date with Barbieri in tomorrow’s final group.

Barbieri was a relieved man after the round and satisfied with a share of the lead.

“I got it around and had one bogey, which was good,” Barbieri said.

After a stand-out 2019 which saw the Monash member grab runner up finishes in the Australian and NSW Amateur Championships, Barbieri is realising how quickly the sport can level you.

“Last year was a dream run, but this year I haven’t played as good. I probably expected more, which I know I shouldn’t have.”

“You have got to back yourself here and there, but I think the term is I got a bit cocky, but I know it’s not always like that.”

The newer, more pragmatic Barbieri knows he has to go into tomorrow’s final round free of expectations to give himself a chance of the win.

” So many guys close, there’s still a long way to go,” he grinned.

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