BO VAN PELT holed a 60 foot birdie putt on the final green to take a one shot lead into the final round of the 2012 ISPS HANDA Perth International.
Four behind Argentinian 20 year old Emiliano Grillo overnight, the American turned five shots adrift but came home in 32 for a 67 and 12-under par total.
Van Pelt’s countryman and World Number Ten Jason Dufner matched his five under par round to sit second on 11-under, while Grillo three-putted the last for a 73 and third place on 10-under.
Grillo initially stretched his advantage when he holed a 12 footer at the sixth and got down in two from a fairway bunker at the ninth to turn in 34.
It was Dufner who initially began applying pressure, The Ryder Cup star chipping in at the seventh to start a run of five birdies in six holes.
Grillo dropped shots at the tenth and 11th, responded with a birdie at the short next, but bogeyed the 16th and 18th for a costly inward 37.
Van Pelt curled in a ten footer at the first for birdie but gave the shot back at the sixth after a poor bunker shot.
The World Number 24 two-putted the long seventh and 11th for birdies, holed from 12 feet at the next and chipped to two feet at the 15th before his spectacular finish.
“Once in a while a hole just gets in the way,” said Van Pelt. “I felt like I hit a pretty good second shot, just carried about five yards further. I was just trying to get the ball down there and two-putt and get out of there, and lo and behold, it goes in the hole.
“There’s still a lot of golf to be played. It was just nice to finish with a birdie like that and hopefully take that into tomorrow.
Dufner parred his way in from the 13th, and the highest-ranked player in the field was delighted to have given himself a chance going into Sunday.
“It was a nice day to get a good score and move up and have a realistic chance of not having to do anything crazy tomorrow and being in contention to try to win the tournament,” Dufner said.
Fourth place is shared by Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares and England’s David Howell on 7-under.
Aussies Greg Chalmers and Steve Jones are next on six under along with Kiwi first round leader Michael Hendry.
Despite being six shots back from Van Pelt, Chalmers is confident that he can be in contention to win what is Australia’s richest golf tournament this summer.
“I hope it blows again tomorrow and I hope it stays dry and fast, because the greens are getting really bouncy and it’s tough to score, I think that makes it much more doable for someone coming from behind to shoot a low number and possibly overtake everybody,” said Chalmers, who overcame a six shot lead to win the 2011 Australian PGA Championship.
“I think it’s doable. I think there’s a low number out there, I really do. This golf course, no one’s torn it up yet, and I think there’s a 7 under out there or an 8 under if you drive the ball in play and things go your way.”
Lesser known Australian Jones was buoyant after his round believing his success is based on an improved mental approach.
“I just tried to calm myself and be more level on the course, and focus on the next shot, if you hit that shot, the next one’s good and just limits the damage,” said Jones. “I think I feel my confidence has been building and it’s been good.”2012 Perth International Leaderboard