Jed Morgan has Greg Norman in his sights as he eyes the biggest win in Australian PGA Championship history.
The Royal Queensland member has made light work of his home course, carding rounds of 65, 63 and 65 to sit a whopping nine shots clear of Andrew Dodt at 20-under entering Sunday’s final round.
Norman twice won the title by eight shots in back-to-back years in 1984-85, while three-time US Open champion Hale Irwin did it at Royal Melbourne in 1978.
Morgan is also poised to set the lowest score relative to par in the event’s history, with Nick O’Hern and Peter Lonard’s 22-under in 2006 under threat.
The 22-year-old Queenslander, who only turned professional late last year, stands to win $180,000 and earn invitations to three DP World Tour events in Europe this year.
The sizeable cheque should also set him up to finish in the top three of the Australasian Tour’s order of merit list and with that earn full European status for 2022-23.
It’s a far cry from his grandparent’s golf course in Hattonvale, in the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane, where he learnt his craft.
The local favourite, who counts Ricky Ponting as a mentor, has been lapping up the attention though in the absence of the usual US-based Australian stars.
He whipped the crowd into a frenzy on the par-three 17th party hole when he stuck his tee shot and then holed the putt.
“It was loud when we were on the tee box and then when we got up there it was even obviously louder,” he said.
“Yeah, it’s just sick. It’s cool that you can kind of bring that atmosphere to golf, which a lot of the time I think it’s frowned upon.
“But I think it needs to move more that way. I think it’s awesome.”
Five consecutive birdies on the back nine launched equal-third placed David Micheluzzi into distant contention, the Victorian only able to tip his cap to Morgan as they wait for him to stumble.
“Credit to him, it’s so hard doing it on your home golf course,” he said.
“To do it, and especially at one of the biggest events of the year in Oz, it’s just fantastic.”