Nick Faldo rolled back the years this morning with a stunning third round 65 in the Heineken Classic in Melbourne, the latest leg on the round-the-world European Tour. Tomorrow he'll have the whole nation rooting for him.
He moved into position for his first victory since 1997, shooting a 7-under par score to take a one-stroke lead into the final round at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Six times a major champion, Faldo (aged 45 and soon to be a father for the fourth time, had an 11-under par total, edging ahead of Australian Peter Lonard (67), Swede Niclas Fasth (68) and fellow Englishman Paul Casey (74).
Without a win since the PGA Tour’s Nissan Open – he last won in Europe in 1994 – a chirpy Faldo said he was ready to win again.
"I set my own rules today and stuck to them," he said, recalling how he dropped three shots in the last four holes on Friday. He said he was inspired by the 66 that Ernie Els shot earlier in the day.
"I saw Ernie was making a really good run. Then I eagled nine (with a 50 foot putt from off the green) and started thinking I had a great round going."
He had birdied the first three holes and made the turn in 31 shots with his eagle. He birdied10 and 16, and left his putt on 18 inches short.
"The last couple of days I tripped up on the back nine, so I was concentrating hard on hitting the shots where I wanted to and playing smart. So I played safe a few times but I generally hit it where I intended."
His playing partner will be the stoic Lonard – already a winner twice this year on the Aussie circuit, but Els, looking for his fourth win in five outings will be breathing down his neck.