Eccles leads by 4 in rain soaked NSW Open

Eccles Leads NSW Open
Victorian Ben Eccles Leads the NSW Open after three rounds

Victorian amateur Ben Eccles leads the NSW Open Golf Championship by four shots after a long and rain soaked day at Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club.

Eccles carded a magnificent six–under par 66 on a very wet afternoon and sits at 19-under par after 54 holes.

New South Wales professionals Peter Lonard and Clayton Bridges lead the chasing pack at 15-under par, closely followed by Aaron Wilkin from Queensland and Mathew Millar from the ACT at 14-under par.

"I’m absolutely thrilled with how I played today,” Eccles says. "I’ve played in some pretty poor weather in Scotland, but coming up the last has got to be the heaviest rain I’ve ever played in.”

Eccles and his group completed their rounds in torrential rain and near darkness, the 18th fairway resembling a river.

A river runs through 18th fairway
Torrential rain causes a river to form on the 18th fairway as the final group finishes their round in almost darkness.

“I just stuck to my game plan and stuck to my routine, I was able to execute my shots for most of the day.”

“But six-under today, I’ll take it.”

Eccles will sleep well tonight after the lengthy day spent in miserable conditions.

“It will be a bit nerve-wracking tomorrow, I’m looking forward to it and see if I can be there at the end of the day.”

Eccles however, won't be relying on too much family support tomorrow.

“My parents are up in Queensland on a holiday,’” he laughs. “It might be an urgent flight down.”

2004 NSW Open Champion Peter Lonard spent most of the day in the rain on the Stonecutters Ridge golf course, eventually finishing in a tie for second with just one round to play. He is pretty happy to walk from the course this evening with the third round complete.

“35 and a half holes today, I’m a bit old to be doing 36 these days.”

I didn’t fancy coming back tomorrow morning to complete the round, that’s’ for sure,” says Lonard. “I didn’t think we were going to get it in so I’m pretty happy about that.”

Lonard makes a move
Peter Lonard Chips from off the green during round three

Lonard hung in there for a while, holing a chip at one stage, and managed to make a string of birdies at the end of his third round to move quickly up the leaderboard.

“You don’t have to drive it dead arrow straight around here but you’ve just got to keep it on the fairway somehow.”

He’s reasonably happy with his form going into tomorrow’s final round.

“I didn’t look at the leaderboard so I haven’t seen any other scores so far,” he says. “But give me another six-under par and I won't come back tomorrow. I’ll just see you next week,” laughs Lonard.

Newcastle Professional Clayton Bridges kept his game under control for most of the day to keep himself in contention for the Championship at 15-under par.

“I made a clutch up and down from the hazard on 16 but I had a disappointing par on the last,” he says. “Overall I’m pretty happy with the round.”

Bridges 5-under par round included a run of 5 birdies, from the 7th to the 11th holes.

Clayton Bridges and Caddie
Clayton Bridges and his caddie discuss his second shot on the 10th hole during the third round of the NSW Open Golf Championship.

"My caddy made a good call on the 10th not to go for the green in two because my lie was wet, so I just laid up to a good distance then hit a nice sand iron in to four feet and made the putt.”

Bridges was one of the fortunate ones in the Championship. He finished his second round yesterday.

“Yeah I’ve just sat back inside the clubhouse for most of it, I was one of the lucky ones."

Coming out to Stonecutters Ridge to enjoy the action? Then take a picture of yourself (or your mates) enjoying the event and use the hashtag #DEFININGLEGENDS or #NSWOPEN and post it on Facebook HERE or Instagram. We'd love to see your faces.

The 2015 New South Wales Open Golf Championship will be played at Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club from 12 to 15 November 2015. The Championship forms part of the 2015 Australasian PGA Tour schedule. ENTRY IS FREE. For more information visit:  www.nswopen.com

The NSW Open Golf Championship - Defining Legends Since 1931




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