A battle royal is on the cards after England players Jack Singh Brar and Jake Burnage tied with South Africa’s Kyle McClatchie for the Brabazon Trophy lead at Woodhall Spa Golf Club.
They are eight-under par after the very blustery third round of the English men’s open amateur stroke play championship and they hold a four-shot lead over the rest of the field.
If Singh Brar wins it will complete a remarkable double, following his Lytham Trophy success earlier in the season. If Burnage wins it will underline his form and provide ample compensation for losing out at Lytham, where he finished third. If McClatchie wins it will be the perfect 20th birthday present.
All three were thoroughly tested by today’s conditions, with the strong winds really picking up on the back nine. “It was brutal,” said Burnage (Saunton, Devon), pictured top, who managed to play round in three-under 70. “I’ve played here plenty of times and that was the hardest ever.”
He set up his score with five birdies in the first 10 holes and then, liked the others, settled in for the slog home. A couple of excellent up and downs, including one on 18, held his score firmly together.
“I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, it’s a chance to grab it with both hands,” he said.
Singh Brar (Remedy Oak, Dorset), signed for one-over par 74 today and declared: “It was a complete battle out there. It wasn’t too bad on the front nine but as soon as you turned the corner the wind came through the trees.
“It was all about staying in there – you couldn’t win it today but you could definitely put yourself out of the tournament.”
The 20-year-old has been right in the mix throughout the tournament and added: “It will be nice to be in contention tomorrow. This is what you play for, that feeling of competing and contending is the best.”
McClatchie, pictured below, hails from the Johannesburg area, where it is generally calm, although a recent outing at Royal County Down in the Irish Open provided a crash course in wind management.
Today, he shot two over 75 and remarked: “I started badly – I was two over after five – but I knew if I kept doing the right thing there were chances to make birdies. I made two birdies on par fives, which calmed me down, and although I bogeyed 15 and 16 I played really well on the back nine.”
He’s equally excited about tomorrow. “I’m really chuffed. I said at the beginning of the week that I would try to put myself in position for the last nine holes. Hopefully I can do that.”
Four shots back on four-under is a group which includes two players who made impressive charges today. Scotland’s Jamie Stewart moved up 33 places with his six-under 67, which included nine birdies. England A Squad player Matthew Jordan (Royal Liverpool) improved 22 spots with his 68.
“My aim today was to do as well as I possibly could and see where I finished,” said Jordan. “I was playing well and when a putt dropped on four I got on a bit of a roll. It was one of those nice days when you play well and putt well – it doesn’t often happen.” The fourth was the first of a run of six birdies in seven holes for Jordan, who dropped just one shot on the 14th.
Also in the group on four under is English amateur champion Dan Brown (Masham), David Boote of Wales and Conor O’Rourke of Ireland.
Images copyright Leaderboard Photography