Blake Windred stumbles but part of Asia-Pacific Amateur tie

SHANGHAI -- Blake Windred of Australia has another entry in the record book at the Asia-Pacific Amateur, and it felt better than it might appear.

Windred fell apart Saturday at Sheshan International with four bogeys in a five-hole stretch in the middle of his third round, and he went from leading to two shots behind going to the par-5 18th.

He finished with a 5-foot birdie putt to salvage a 2-over 74. Ren Yonezawa of Japan missed a short par putt and had to settle for a 73.

Just like that, they were tied for the lead and had plenty of company. Yung-Hua Liu of Taiwan and Yuto Katsuragawa of Japan each shot 69 for a four-way share of the lead at 8-under 208.

In the 10 previous editions of the Asia-Pacific Amateur, there had never been a tie after 54 holes. Now there are four players tied for the lead, all aiming to win the tournament and earn a spot in the Masters and The Open next year.

Windred, who tied the tournament record with a 63 in the first round, was happy to be part of the mix.

"What I can take away from today is that it wasn't my best performance at all, but I was quite happy with my attitude on the golf course and when I rolled that birdie putt in on the last," Windred said. "On the last tee, I was 7 under and I didn't feel great mentally. But I told myself that there's another day and another opportunity to shoot a low score and take home the trophy.

"That kind of pumped me up a little bit, and then I was in the right space to make a birdie on the last."

Six other players were within three shots of the lead, a group that includes defending champion Takumi Kanaya of Japan, who shot 68 to get within one shot, and Yuxin Lin of China, who won the Asia-Pacific two years ago. He shot 71 and was among those two shots behind.

Yonezawa, a 20-year-old who attends the same Tokyo university as Kanaya and two-time Asia-Pacific winner Hideki Matsuyama, has the best form going into the final day. He has finished among the top four in six of his last eight tournaments and has won three times this year.

Yonezawa was runner-up at the Asia-Pacific Open Diamond Cup on the Japan Golf Tour, which would have earned him a spot in The Open. Now he can earn his way to Royal St. George's next year by winning, along with a tee time at Augusta National in April.

"I am in a good position," he said. "I just need to work on my short-range putting today, and I think I should be ready for the battle tomorrow."