Adam Scott turned a frustratingly flat line late for most of Saturday in an upward direction late holing a stunning final hole eagle to seize the lead and continue his pursuit of a second Australian Open.
After shooting a 63 on Friday, Scott’s Saturday scorecard hardly moved as Poland’s Adrian Meronk went on a birdie blitz to equal the course record the Australian star fired the day before.
But two back nine birdies began a move which ended with the eagle, met by raucous applause on the 18th hole just before 7pm as Scott recorded a three-under 67 to move to 11-under, one ahead of Meronk after an extra-long day of third rounds drew frustration from some.
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Rounds extending in to the early evening are a kink of the dual-gender Open officials will have to work out before next year as a mass of players jostled for three different titles on the same course.
Officials confirmed the world-first format for a national open would continue in 2023 when the event returns to Sydney with The Australian Golf Club and a second course to be confirmed as locations.
There was frustration among some players with 161 – 78 women, 71 men and 12 all-abilities golfers – packed on to Victoria on Saturday producing enough delays for some to lament the lack of rhythm on offer.
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Meronk found his by addressing the putting issues of his opening day to storm to the top of the leaderboard on the back of nine birdies in his seven-under round of 63, a run fuelled by Polish food from the Melbourne-based cousins of his girlfriend, Melania.
“We‘ve had had like Polish foods, family dinner every night,” Meronk said.
“It feels like home to be honest. Like it‘s always nice to be you know, coming back to the house talking Polish.
“I know my game too. I know if I play like I did today I can, you know, shoot really low scores. I will just focus on that. And that‘s all I can do. And hopefully you’ll be enough at the end of the day.”
Overnight leader David Micheluzzi struggled to a two-over 72 while Min Woo Lee, the brother of world No.4 Minjee, holed out from the bunker for an eagle on the 18th hole as part of his five-under 67 and he’s poised to pounce on Sunday four back from Scott.
“It’s a good position. Obviously you would like to be in the lead, but I’m playing good golf and who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow,” he said.
Victorian Lucas Herbert was frustrated by more than the triple-bogey on the 17th hole which turned what could have been a 64 into a 67, in a round which took five hours and 20 minutes
“This is what happens when you have so many people out on the course,” he said.