A misbehaving putter and a Thai freight train are two of the obstacles Mollymooks Kelsey Bennett faces with just one round left of the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi.
Bennett was left rueing a bunch of missed chances on a day when a misbehaving putter let down some sublime shotmaking.
“Yuk!” was how the 21-year-old from Mollymook described her putting post-round after signing for a 69, her third straight round in the ’60s.
“It was frustrating. I had a lot of opportunities and just could not get them to drop today. I had three birdies in a row, then that was it.”
Bennett looked full of confidence after three straight birdies from the 6th to the 8th took her to the cusp of the lead; however, try as she might, she couldn’t coax another putt in over the final ten holes.
Symbolic of Bennett’s day was her putt on the last for birdie, which sat frustratingly on the lip of the hole, refusing to drop. To add salt to the wound, the Thai, Vongtaveelap, rolled in a ten-footer for eagle to retain the iron-clad grip she has had on the prestigious tournament since day one.
At 15 under par, the big hitting Vongtaveelap is three ahead with just one round to play.
(Click to view full screen)
Japan’s Mizuki Hashimoto Hashimoto is the nearest challenger at 12 under, while Bennett is outright third at 11 under par, four shots from the lead.
Bennett, again paired with the leaders for tonight’s final round, remains optimistic about her chances.
“I’m feeling pretty good. I think I’d rather be a couple back heading into the last round rather than being in front. So I am looking forward to it.”
“Hopefully, tomorrow will be the day,”
The other Aussie in contention, Queensland’s Cassie Porter, also played some brilliant golf in the third round, carding a four-under 68 to sit tied-fourth at ten under par, five shots from the lead.
Like Bennett, Porter hasn’t had much luck with the putter, but her ball-striking has been supreme.
Porter celebrated with arms in the air after rolling in a birdie putt in at the 16th as though a drought had broken.
“If the putter is hot tomorrow and I’m playing like I did today, hopefully it’s a good round,” said the 19-year-old from Peregian on the Sunshine Coast. “But at the end of the day, it’s all good.”
The winner of this tournament gets a start in next year’s AIG Women’s Open and the Evian Championship, both professional majors, The KLPGA’s Hana Bank Challenge in South Korea and importantly, an invitation to the Augusta Women’s Invitational.