Van Pelt strikes late to lead in Australia

10/20/2012 10:48:27 AM
 Bo Van Pelt   (Getty Images)
Bo Van Pelt (Getty Images)
Bo Van Pelt holed a 60 foot birdie putt on the final green to take a one shot lead into the final round of the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

Four behind Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo overnight, American Van Pelt turned five shots adrift but came home in 32 for a 67 and 12 under par total.

His compatriot and World Number Ten Jason Dufner matched Van Pelt’s five under par round to sit second on 11 under, while Grillo three-putted the last for a 73 and third place on ten under.

The 20 year old Grillo initially stretched his advantage when he holed a 12 footer at the sixth and got down in two from a fairway bunker at the ninth to turn in 34.

It was Dufner who initially began applying pressure, The Ryder Cup star chipping in at the seventh to start a run of five birdies in six holes.

Grillo dropped shots at the tenth and 11th, responded with a birdie at the short next, but bogeyed the 16th and 18th for a costly inward 37 as the Qualifying School graduate looks to cement his place in the top 115 on The Race to Dubai – he currently lies 112th.

Van Pelt curled in a ten footer at the first for birdie but gave the shot back at the sixth after a poor bunker shot.

The World Number 24 two-putted the long seventh and 11th for birdies, holed from 12 feet at the next and chipped to two feet at the 15th before his spectacular finish.

“Once in a while a hole just gets in the way,” said Van Pelt. “I felt like I hit a pretty good second shot, just carried about five yards further. I was just trying to get the ball down there and two-putt and get out of there, and lo and behold, it goes in the hole. 

“There's still a lot of golf to be played. It was just nice to finish with a birdie like that and hopefully take that into tomorrow.

“Jason is a great player, Grillo is playing well and he's probably going to come out and probably shoot a low one tomorrow. You've got to drive the ball straight and then put the ball in position on the greens, because they have a lot of slope and they are getting firm and they are getting fast.” 

Dufner parred his way in from the 13th, and the highest-ranked player in the field was delighted to have given himself a chance going into Sunday.

“It was a nice day to get a good score and move up and have a realistic chance of not having to do anything crazy tomorrow and being in contention to try to win the tournament,” he said. 

“Sometimes in the middle of a round, something happens that spurs you to some better play, and I got a little bit of a tough break on seven on my tee ball. Thought it would be in the fairway but hung up in the rough, which put me a good way back and I ended up getting into a bunker 70 yards or so and hit it over the back and then chipped in. 

“So not really thinking that you're going to make birdie; in your mind you're almost feeling like maybe bogey might come on a pretty easy hole. Chipped in there and then hit one stone on nine and birdied ten, 11, 12.” 

Fourth place is shared by Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares and England’s David Howell, and although the pair are five shots off the lead both have plenty to play for.

Currently 70th and 71st on The Race to Dubai, both need a big finish to force their way into the top 60 who will make the trip to Jumeirah Golf Estates next month.