It was an intriguing day’s play yesterday in the Asian Amateur Championship’s third round here on the New course at Singapore Island Country Club.

At one point leader Ben Campbell of New Zealand had extended his lead to a very healthy five shots, before ultimately making a great up and down for birdie at the last to take a one-shot advantage into the final round over defending champion, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan.

This was partly due to a costly double on the 12th – where a seemingly risky shot from a hanging lie in thickish rough resulted in a watery double – and partly because the Asian Amateur Championship’s defending champion returned an impressive 65, even with a missed six-footer for birdie on 18.

Those two are four and three clear of Cameron Smith of Australia, a youngster with a Rory-esque manner and gait, who seemed happy to whale away with driver on holes where others were proceeding with more caution. It didn’t seem to do him any harm though as he signed for a 69.

I ventured out further onto the back nine to get a look at some the best holes on the course where water really makes its presence felt especially 12, 14 and 16 – a daunting par 5 where you drive slightly across the water that flanks the hole down the right.

It’s actually the easiest hole on the course though statistically, and the only one with a below par average (4.72) thanks to three eagles and 51 birdies. The 456-yard 12th hole is playing hardest of all, with just 8 birdies and 31 doubles or worse all week.

One player who’d contributed to that double tally twice was Angad Cheema of India who I met in the weather shelter by the 15th tee during a half-hour weather delay. “That hole’s been giving me trouble all week,” he smiled.

Among the less likely nations to see players through to the weekend are Sri Lanka, whose young Thangaraja Nadaraja acquitted himself well with a 3rd round 72, and Myanmar’s Maung Maung Oo who slipped back with a 77.

With play scheduled to start a little earlier today to factor in any weather delays, it’s time for me to pack, check out and head up to the course for all the Asian Amateur Championship 4th round action before my 13-hour flight home tonight…

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