The third round at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth is often referred to as ‘Super Saturday’. And the final round of strokeplay lived up to the billing at Lake Karrinyup.
Determined to make the top-24 that advance to Sunday’s six hole match play, players set out to make birdies despite the blustery conditions in Perth, while players at the top of leaderboard had higher hopes of securing a place in the top-8 and a bye through the first round of the match play.
With so many different storylines unfolding around the course and a congested leaderboard full of some of the event’s biggest names it became difficult for players, fans and even tournament organisers to be aware of exactly who was inside or outside the all-important 24 player cut-off. And the stress of the second cut took its toll on players and their friends and families.
“Of course it is,” said Jack Jager when asked if watching son Matt, who led at multiple stages on Saturday, in this format was more stressful than a traditional event.
Irishman Paul Dunne was one of the early players to confirm his place in the last day’s play of the unique event, the 2017 British Masters winner firing a 66 in the second group off the first tee to reach 9-under and the top spot on the leaderboard. Dunne confident in his match play ability despite the lack of the format in the professional game.
“I play a lot of match play anyway in Tuesday practise rounds and stuff,” Dunne said. “I like the competitiveness of it where you play against someone apart from just playing against the course the whole time. Match play, it's a funny gig. It's the best format if you get a bit of momentum, and if you're struggling for momentum, it just feels like you're down the whole time. So I feel like getting off to a good start is a big help.”
Dunne’s run at the top of leaderboard was short lived though, when unheralded Per Langfors of Sweden fired the round of the week having made his first ever European Tour cut just one day earlier. His 64 taking him to 10-under, which stood up throughout the afternoon’s play to ensure him the number one seed and a handy cheque.
As things at the top of the leaderboard became clearer, exactly who would make up the bottom of the match play bracket remained unclear.
Jager, an Australian Amateur champion at Lake Karrinyup, was left to rue consecutive bogeys at the closing two holes that cost him a place in the top-8 exempt from the first round of match play. And it was a similar story for fellow West Australian Min Woo Lee, who made five at the last to fall to a tie for ninth. However, the ever-confident Lee remained upbeat having knocked off the top seed Prom Meesawat in the six hole match play in 2018.
“No, no, no fears. I did well last year,” Lee, who had the biggest crowds on course during Saturday said. “I love this course, so yeah, hopefully they're scared of me.”
Lee and Jager dropping late shots meant an even eight players finished at eight-under or better, including drawcards Thomas Pieters and Ryan Fox, with no playoff required to decide who would get a slight sleep in on Sunday.
The 11 players locked at six-under weren’t so lucky though, with only 10 spots available. Meaning three groups were sent back to the 18thtee to decide who would miss out via a sudden death playoff.
Wade Ormsby providing the day’s most thrilling moment after making the first mistake, thinning a bunker shot and finding another greenside bunker and a plugged lie. Having splashed out across the green, the South Australian faced a putt of over 50 feet for a five, which still looked one too many strokes with players recording birdies and mostly pars at the par-4.
If Ormsby was feeling the pressure, he didn’t show it as he hit a perfect speed putt that trickled into the cup. Despite multiple friends and family around the green, Ormsby then chose to wait on his own as he watched the final players finish in the hope of earning a chance to go back to the 18thagain and gain entry into Sunday’s play.
“I felt like it,” Ormsby said when asked if he thought he was a dead man walking after his first bunker shot. “You don’t ever wish it (making bogey) on anyone else. It was just nice to give myself another chance.”
Ormsby’s chance was provided by England’s Tom Murray, who after a matching five was then dealt a tournament ending blow as the two players went back down the final hole again to decide who would receive the 24thand final place.
Having missed the fairway right, Murray was forced to take a penalty drop for an unplayable lie and despite finding the trees himself from the tee, Ormsby holed a short putt for a second bogey five at 18 that was good enough to earn him the final place on Sunday.
The draw was held immediately after play at Lake Karrinyup and despite having Lee and impressive Frenchman Gregory Bourdy in his bracket, Pieters remains the hot favourite to take out the innovative Perth event. The Belgian, who hosts his own Belgian Knockout match play event on the European Tour, telling the crowd on hand at the match play draw he is close to being back to 100 percent after suffering with illness earlier in the week and with a strong match play record in team and individual events as a pro, it will take something special to beat the man who secured his country’s first team World Cup of Golf title in Melbourne in late 2018.
The six hole begin at 7am local time and will be played across the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14thand 18thholes, with tied matches decided on the less than 90 metre ‘Knockout hole’ from a special tee to the 18thgreen.
7am:Daniel Gale v Adrian Otaegui. (Winner to play Per Langfors)
7.08am:Min Woo Lee v Gregory Bourdy. (Winner to play Thomas Pieters)
7.16am:Ben Campbell v Clement Sordet. (Winner to play Brad Kennedy)
7.24am:Scott Vincent v Wade Ormsby. (Winner to play Yuta Ikeda)
7.32am:Matt Jager v Andrew Martin. (Winner to play Paul Dunne)
7.40am:Robert MacIntyre v Connor Syme. (Winner to play Gareth Paddison)
7.48am:Steven Jeffress v Jazz Janewattananond. (Winner to play Ryan Fox)
7.56am:Panuphol Pittayarat v Ben Evans. (Winner to play Kristoffer Reitan)