PETER O’MALLEY could be in for the ride of his life this weekend, teeing off in the third round of the 2011 Emirates Australian Open with a resurgent Tiger Woods.
O’Malley is just one stroke behind an ominous looking and sounding Woods who is threatening to return to the form of old.
Woods collected seven birdies during his second round 67 at the Lakes Golf Club in Sydney to lead the tournament on 9-under.
O’Malley shot a 66 on Friday, one better than the former World No.1, to be 8-under.
The penultimate group is the enticing pairing of Jason Day on 7-under and Bubba Watson on 6-under.
O’Malley, as a member of The Lakes not only has a local knowledge advantage, the last time the two paired together the Australian was the victor.
And that was at the 2002 world match play championship when Woods was in his prime.
The 46 year old hasn’t fared so well lately and is planning on returning home from Britain after losing his European Tour card this year. A year in which he made just one cut in seven European tournaments.
The Stonehaven Cup is one trophy he has always coveted.
”I haven’t won this, or the PGA or Masters as well,” O’Malley said. ”But this is the one that I’ve always wanted.”
O’Malley knows the home ground advantage will only go so far.
”The advantage I get is knowing where to hit tee shots,” O’Malley said. ”I’ve got no advantage on the greens because I’ve got no idea what they’re doing sometimes.”
O’Malley and Woods are due to tee off at 12.40pm.
The Australian will be hoping after that he will be putting his approach shots close enough to the pins so he can employ one of his other well known tactics – keeping his eyes shut on short putts.
”It takes away the visual anxiety,” O’Malley explained. ”I am not seeing what the putter is doing so I don’t feel any anxiety over it. I just close my eyes and let it flow.”2011 Emirates Australian Open Live Leaderboard