Australian Open: Paul Casey rues missed chances on third day as Matt Jones leads
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/12/19 4:08pm
Paul Casey endured a "flat" third day as he slipped four shots behind Matt Jones at the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney.
Casey was one behind the Australian overnight but found himself in the lead when he made his second birdie of the round at the seventh, but a double-bogey at the ninth took the wind out of his sails.
The Englishman did not manage another birdie until the final hole as he signed for a 71, while Jones opened up a three-shot lead over the field with five birdies over the back-nine in a 68 which took him to 13 under par.
Jones, the 2015 champion, struggled in the increasingly blustery conditions on the outward half and mixed eight pars with a bogey at the fourth before getting his challenge back on track after the turn, carding three birdies in four holes from the 10th.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
He picked up another at 16 only to give the shot straight back at 17, but his birdie at the last ensured he would begin the final round three clear of American Cameron Tringale, with Casey and Louis Oosthuizen on nine under par.
"The wind was very tough," said Jones. "I couldn't pick my trajectory at first but I ground it out and ended up with a good score."
Tringale closed out a 69 with his fourth birdie of the round at the last, while Casey was left to reflect on a day of mistakes and missed opportunities which damaged his bid for a third victory of the year.
"It was a flat day, I just never really got going, not much to really say," said Casey. "When I had opportunities, I didn't capitalise and there were obviously a couple of errors in there. But how do you get around this course without making errors?"
Oosthuizen mixed three birdies with two bogeys in a hard-working 70, while first round joint-leader Takumi Kanaya made it a three-way tie for third when the Japanese amateur birdied three of the last five holes to match Oosthuizen's 70.
Australian Jamie Arnold made a mockery of the tough conditions as he blitzed the back nine for six birdies in an outstanding 64, the best round of the day by four shots, and he will begin the final round five shots behind Jones.
Marc Leishman is a further stroke back after a 70, but he has not ruled out his chances of lifting the Stonehaven Cup for the first time.
"I've come from a long way back before," said Leishman, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour. "It doesn't matter if you're four in front or four behind, you're not going to win a tournament of this calibre against a field like this without playing really good golf."