Reigning title holder Henry Brind expects mind games, pressure and the last nine holes on Sunday to all have a bearing on this year’s Wagga Country Club championships.
Brind, the 2011 and 2016 champion, is one of three multiple winners tied for second at the tournament’s halfway mark.
He’s joined by Jarrod Meacham (1998, 2008, 2012, 2013) and Mark Johnson (2001, 2015) as well as Sam Whitfield.
They’ll need all that experience to try and make up six shots on teenage leader Bart Carroll, who opened up a break on the pack with rounds of 74 and 73 last week.
“We’ve got a very big job,” Brind said.
“It’s not going to be easy, he’s definitely a young talented golfer, but anything can happen in golf.”
Brind said a big lead can put just as much pressure on the leader – whose tournament it is to lose – as the chasing pack.
He believes Meacham, chasing a fifth title in 20 years, is a player who can apply it.
“(He’s) won four times and he’s that good under pressure,” Brind said.
“The year I first won it, he was hunting me on the back nine on the last day.
“Definitely experience can help. (But) Bart’s a very experienced 14-year-old.
“That might sound a bit weird but he’s played in three or four club champs and he’s been in the final eight a couple of times.
“He’ll definitely be in that top four going into the last round.”
Saturday’s third round shapes as make-or- break for those in contention and Brind says Meacham is also the master of the mind games.
“He’s a very good golfer but Bart will be zoned in, he’ll have tunnel vision as they say, and no doubt he’ll have another very good round, I’d say,” Brind said.
But he’s adamant the tournament won’t be decided until the back nine on Sunday. That’s when Brind needs a better day out than last week, when he went from one shot behind Carroll to six in arrears.
“I just don’t like making it easy for myself, that’s what it is,” he said.
“I played ok the first day, started ok the second day then it just sort of fell away.
“But the last five or six holes I got it together again on that second day to at least keep myself in with a chance.
“It’s definitely got to improve a bit on and around the greens for me."
The Country Club championships are open to the public. The last group tees off around 1pm both days.