By TRACEY ROXBURGH
Queenstown’s James Anstiss was within cooee of a coup in Australia last weekend.
Anstiss roared home in the third round of the Victorian PGA Championship, at Moonah Links, to take a one-shot lead going into the final day, tantalisingly close to his first win on the Australasian Tour.
Last Saturday, the 25-year-old found another gear on the back of a double-bogey at the par-4 11th, playing the final seven holes in just 21 strokes, with only nine putts, to shoot 9-under 63 and lead the way at 18-under par.
Fellow golfer Chris Wood called Anstiss’ effort ‘‘awesome golf’’ while Novocastrian Blake Windred said it was ‘‘nearly unbelievable’’.
For Anstiss — who shot out to a three-shot lead with birdies at the third and fourth hole on Sunday, but ultimately ended up one shot short, finishing at 19-under tied for second — it was the continuation of form he first displayed in mid-December, winning the Christies Floorings Mount Open, his third Charles Tour win after travelling back and forth between New Zealand and the US in 2020.
‘‘I put my head down and worked really hard for a few months at the start of summer, and that win at the end of 2020 in NZ was confirmation that I was playing great and I’ve been playing great ever since,’’ Anstiss says.
‘‘I was leading by one going into the last round [on Saturday] and finished two ahead.
‘‘It’s always an uncomfortable feeling when you’re leading – you’ve got adrenalin and nerves – but that’s the feeling you want.
‘‘You’ve got to go out there and deal with it and try and play your best and hit every shot to the best of your ability.’’
Anstiss, who netted about $NZ12,000 for his efforts, shared second with PGA Tour player Queenslander Michael Sim.