Campbell eyes off The Masters

New Zealand's Ben Campbell is two rounds away from being invited to The Masters with the world number 17 commanding a three-shot lead into the third day of the Asian Amateur Championship in Singapore.

The Melbourne based Campbell fired a magnificent bogey-free round of 66 which included four birdies and an eagle, taking him to 11-under for the tournament, three shots ahead of Singapore's Kenneth Christian John De Silva.

Aussie Cameron Smith is a 7-under-par following rounds of 68-69 to be in a tie for third position. Jake Higginbottom is at 4-under-par, seven behind Campbell and in a tie for 9th position to be the best of the Australians.

Matt Stieger has fired rounds of 70-72 to be at 2-under-par and in a tie for 19th position, with Luke Humphries at even par and in a tie for 26th position.

Matthew Smith at plus 5 following rounds of 73-76 and was the last of the Australians to make the plus-6 cut mark.

Campbell, who shot 67 yesterday and is yet to make a bogey, came into the tournament on a tremendous run of form after making the cut and finishing T-40th at last week's Asia Pacific Open in Japan.

"I managed to get in close as few times today and putted well," said Campbell.

"My ball striking is good and I feel comfortable with my game at present. There's still two more rounds of golf and I'm not getting ahead of myself. I'll play each hole as it comes and try and keep the bogeys off my card."

A prodigious talent, Campbell's consistency in bigger events is what separates the 20-year-old from the others.

Campbell has won before and can close events out. At 19 he won the Tauranga Open in New Zealand, firing a closing 66 to finish at 19-under-par and in the process becoming the first amateur in more than two years to win a Charles Tour event.

This Australian summer he had changes leading or being in the leading group going into the final rounds at the Australian Master of the Amateurs, the Lake Macquarie Amateur, the Riversdale Cup and at the Australian Amateur Stroke championship.

It was the flat sick that cost Campbell his chances of winning a major amateur event on Australian soil this season, yet as a ball striker you don't see much better. Campbell is a flusher and easily a cut above the other main amateurs on tour.

"My putting earlier this season was disappointing and it let me down," said Campbell who was runner-up to Matt Stieger at the Australian Amateur and secured an impressive finishes internationally at the British Amateur and St Andrews Links Trophy before a toe injury forced him out of the game.

"I had good rankings throughout the year, but overall I felt frustrated with my game. Then I got injured and I've only just started to get back into it."

Players of Campbell's calibre are making us wonder what will come of them, even given the fickle nature of the game where one great season can be followed with one where you're grinding to retain your relevance.

Having watched Campbell closely for more than four years in which he's been playing the main international events in Australasia, the UK and in the US, he continues to impress us with his gritty style of play and fine run of international results achieved against the world's best.

No matter what the outcome Campbell smiles and is a true gentleman. Now another opportunity awaits the New Zealander in Singapore.

It's often remarked that good players create their own opportunities and even better players take full advantages of such opportunities.

Campbell fits into the classification of a "gun" player and it's with interest we follow to see if he can take the Asian Amateur out and in the process pack his bag for The Masters.

Should Campbell do so, it will not only be fitting, but it could not happen to a nicer guy.

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