Patient Gaunt six shots ahead

  • Photograph by Colin Thompson

Leader of the pack: Daniel Gaunt tees off at 15th tee

Daniel Gaunt kept on course for a maiden Gosling’s Invitational title after the penultimate round at Belmont Hills Golf Club yesterday.

The Australian exerted more pressure on the chasing pack after firing a four-under-par 66 to extend his lead to six shots. Barring a meltdown today, he seems well set for victory.

“It was a good round and I think I’m more proud of my patience out there today,” said Gaunt, whose round included six birdies and two bogeys.

“I’ve been playing really nice and my patience and mental ability have been spot-on. This is one of those golf courses that can bite you on the bum really quickly. I had a lot of putts from six feet for birdies and then putts you’re just hoping to two-putt.

“You can’t give it a go, otherwise you’re going to hit six feet past and you’ve got a three-putt coming up.

“It’s one hell of a tricky golf course. The second shot into the green and around the green is as tricky as I’ve played.”

Bermuda’s Camiko Smith started the third round three shots off the lead in second place after firing a round of 64 at Port Royal Golf Course on Wednesday.

At four under through eleven holes, including an eagle at the 6th, things seemed to be going Smith’s way as he moved to within two shots of Gaunt. However, he came unstuck as he bogeyed three of the last seven holes and had to be content with a round of one under 69 to leave himself with a lot of catching up to do.

“I let it get away from me on the finishing holes,” said Smith, who also carded two birdies. But I’m still in there and have one more day to grind it out.

“I just have to stay focused and just go to work, really.”

Smith’s woes began at the par-five 12th, where a mental lapse proved costly.

“I had a so-so drive down the middle of fairway, but I got my yardage a little messed up and drove my ball out of bounds, and made bogey there,” said Smith, who also made back-to-back bogeys at the par-three 17th and par-four 18th.

Also falling off the pace was former winner Bill Walsh, who slipped from third to twelfth after carding three over.

Firing yesterday’s lowest round of 65 were PGA Tour player Brad Adamonis, David Lawrence and Herbie Aikens.

“It was nice to get it under par and get a few back today,” Aikens said. “It was good and definitely a nice change of pace.”

Also shooting four under, along with Gaunt, were David Byrne and former winner Kent Fukushima.

Matt Parziale has a seven-shot lead in the amateur division, while Bermuda’s Steven Duxbury is three shots clear of compatriot Gary Brangman in the senior field.