08 Dec 2012
Kieran Pratt has spent his first two years as a touring professional traipsing around Asia, but he is glad to be at home. It shows in his game, too, the Melburnian carding a fine two-under-par 70 at The Lakes today to stay in contention at the Emirates Australian Open.
Pratt, 24, is one of Australia’s brightest prospects, a winner of the Myanmar Open on the Asian Tour this year.
For a few moments yesterday he held the outright lead in his national Open at six-under-par, after an astonishing three wood over the lake at the par-five 11th hole stopped just two metres from the flag, and he rolled in the eagle putt. It was a 245-metre shot with a strong right-to-left wind. “I held it up against the wind. Sometimes these things come off,’’ he said afterward.
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But Pratt, who hails from Olinda in Melbourne’s Dandenongs, might have had an even better day. He knocked his second shot into the lake at the par-five 14th hole, where everyone was reaching the green in two. He also bogeyed the par-three 18th hole after knocking his tee shot through the green. He will start tomorrow at four-under-par overall.
“There were some nervous moments,’’ he said. “After I made the eagle on 11, my head was spinning. I skied one and didn’t play a great hole on 12. But I thought I held it together pretty well but it was very tough, very windy on 18 there.’’
Pratt intends playing the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum next week before returning to Asia next year. The victory in Myanmar gives him a two-year exemption. “It gives me a job for the next two years, which is nice. I’m really happy to be home playing in Australia. It was great to jump on a plane for one hour and get from Melbourne to Sydney rather than 20 hours or whatever it is in Asia.
“I’ve been playing fine. It’s maybe an attitude thing, I’m not too sure. When I’m back in Australia, I seem to play pretty well.’’
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He is just three shots from the lead, making tomorrow one of the biggest days of his life. “In terms of this scale of event I haven’t been in this position too many times. I’m going to try to enjoy it. I reckon I’ll go okay.’’