Clearwater Bay Open

Clearwater Bay Open: ‘Nervous’ Nick Voke on cusp of third Tour title

The New Zealander is five strokes ahead of the field in the 2 million yuan tournament going into the final day

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2018, 7:44pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2018, 10:56pm

New Zealand No 4 Nick Voke admitted he was “shaking” with nerves as he opened up a five-stroke lead at the 2 million yuan Clearwater Bay Open in his bid for a third win in four PGA Tour Series-China events and a move up from fifth on the Order of Merit.

As Voke shot a three-under 67 to move to 11-under after three rounds of the season-ending event, Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira, third on the money list, shot 68 to move into a share of second with two-time Tour winner Kim Tae-woo of Korea at the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club.

Australian Deyen Lawson and Sweden’s Oskar Arvidsson, the second-round co-leaders, both shot 74 to drop back to 5-under and share fourth place with American Ben Lein (70), Italy’s Cristiano Terragni (70), Korean Jeong Jiung (71) and Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul (70), a winner on the Tour in 2014 and 2016.

Order of Merit leader Charlie Saxon posted a 74 to fall back to four-over and a tie for 49th, while England’s Callum Tarren, the only other player who can finish No 1 on the money list, shot a 67 to move to three-under and a tie for 12th, creating a platform for a late run at the top spot.

Hong Kong No. 1 Motin Yeung, seventh on the Order of Merit, shot 72 to drop to even-par and a share of 30th, reducing his chances of breaking into the top-five and securing membership on the 2019 Tour.

Voke, 23, is seeking to win his third title in only his fifth event on PGA Tour Series-China, having started with a tie for fourth in Suzhou then back-to-back wins in Qinhuangdao and Macau last month. Although he faded to a tie for 16th in last week’s Zhuhai Championship, the rookie pro has been a model of consistency at Clearwater Bay, where he has only shot three bogeys in 54 holes.

Clearwater Bay Open: Deyen Lawson and Oskar Arvidsson share lead as Hong Kong’s Motin Yeung moves up

“It was a battle today, it really was. I didn’t have my A-game out there, but my short game was real sharp and I kept the ball in play. I had four birdies and one bogey, so all in all, I’m happy to be where I am,” said Voke.

The methodical Voke admitted he was feeling the pressure of being in the lead and expects to feel even more nervous on Sunday.

“I’m starting to understand that it’s not how well you play, it’s how well you can manage yourself. The idea that hitting a golf ball is more like a shotgun spread as opposed to a sniper rifle, so I’m just trying to manage the spread as best as I can. I’d probably hit a 5-iron off some tighter holes as opposed to driver,” said Voke, who had been New Zealand’s top amateur before turning pro in January.

Clearwater Bay Open: Nick Voke blasts out of the gate in windy conditions

“However, I was shaking a little bit out there at times and it’s going to be another good battle on Sunday because there are so many good players behind me. I know if I can turn up and do what I need to do to play well and take care of myself, then hopefully I’ll have the trophy at the end of the day. But I’ll be really nervous, if I’m completely honest with you.”