Sampson Zheng (Asia-Pacific Amateur Photo)
, a 22-year-old from China, started the day six shots back in a tie for 13th and mastered the gusting winds on the famous Sandbelt venue to rack up four front-nine birdies with just one bogey. He moved up a gear again with a spectacular eagle three at the par-5 No. 10 which took him clear of the field.
Zheng, who was part of the winning Asia-Pacific team in the Bonallack Trophy in August, kept up the positive momentum with consecutive birdies on Holes No. 12 and 13 before giving a shot back at the next.
Playing in his third edition of the Championship, Zheng parred his way in from there to break the amateur Composite Course record of 66 held by Sir Michael Bonallack, whom the trophy is named after, for 55 years and matched earlier this week by New Zealand’s Kazuma Kobori.
Zheng takes a four-shot lead over the leading home hope Billy Dowling
into tomorrow’s final round.
Dowling battled to stay in contention throughout the day. After trading two birdies with four bogeys on the front nine and dropping another at the 12th, he bounced back with birdies at the 14th and 16th but bogeyed the 17th to finish the day one over for the Championship.
The 18-year-old from Queensland has four wins since August and is making his debut appearance in the Championship.
worked hard to stay in striking distance of his compatriot Zheng. The 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur champion struggled early in his round, including a double bogey six at the fifth hole. A birdie three at the ninth steadied the ship but he dropped shots at the 11th, 14th and 17th to post a five over round of 76 and finish two over.
Even with Ding is first-round leader Kobori, who carded a three over round of 74. They are one shot ahead of Australia’s Max Charles, who sits three over alongside his fellow Australian Jasper Stubbs in a tie for fifth.
With windy conditions, the only other under par round of the day came from China’s Yanhan Zhou, who produced a two-under-par 69 to sit eight over and tied for 16th.
The Asia-Pacific Amateur field comprises 120 of the top male amateurs from the Asia-Pacific region. The 2023 field features players from 37 nations, all competing to secure an exemption into The Open and an invitation to the Masters Tournament in 2024.
The Championship was created in 2009 by the Masters Tournament, The R&A and the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation in an effort to further develop amateur golf throughout the region.
ABOUT THE Asia-Pacific Amateur
The Asia-Pacific Amateur (formerly known as the
Asian Amateur) is the first of a series of
championships put together by a between the
Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters
Tournament and The R&A. The event offers the
winner an invitation to the Masters Tournament at
Augusta National Golf Club and the British Open
The event has historically moved throughout the
region and has now been held in China,
Japan, Singapore, Thailand,
Australia and Hong Kong, Korea, and New
A field, topping out at 120 players, is selected by
The top two ranked amateur players from
of the APGC member countries plus the four
top ranked players from the host country. If
there is not a sufficient number of players
ranked from that member country, the
country may nominate a player(s) from
country, to be approved by the APGC, to
the two positions eligible from that country.
The remainder of the field will be filled
the next highest ranked players of APGC
member countries, not otherwise qualified.
maximum number of eligible players from
APGC member country (with the exception
the host country) is six. Additional players may
be offered at the event's discretion.
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