Lin wavers but hangs on to 1-shot lead

Taiwanese Lin Wen-tang held on in another punishing day at Wack Wack’s East course, salvaging a two-under par 70 despite two late bogeys to cling to a one-stroke lead over Thai Thammanoon Sriroj in a topsy-turvy third round of the $300,000 Solaire Open yesterday.

Lin nearly turned a sterling start into a horrible finish, needing to hole out with a par to save a 34-36 round for a 212 and settling for a one stroke edge that could’ve been more if not for his bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17.

That kept erstwhile co-leader Sriroj just behind at 213 after a 71 and a slew of others within striking distance two or three shots adrift, setting the stage for a wide open battle for the top $54,000 purse in the inaugural Asian Tour event sponsored by Solaire Resort and Casino.

Elmer Salvador kept the locals’ bid alive with a gutsy 71 to force a two-way for third with Pawin INgkhapradit, who also had a 71, at 214, bucking a stinging triple-bogey 8 on the par 5 fifth hole of the tough layout.

The former top local player actually put himself in early contention with three birdies in row from No. 2, only to drop three strokes on No. 5 and another on the next. But he rebounded with three birdies against a bogey at the back to stay in the mix.

Sam Cyr shot the day’s best score of three-under 69, an eagle-spiked card that lifted the American from a share of 21st to joint fifth with Korean Kim Gi-what, who matched par 72, at 215, while opening day leader Dodge Kemmer, also of the US, recovered from a disastrous second round 79 with a 71 for a 216, just four shots behind Lin.

The other even par scorers were Aussie Unho Park and Thai Gunn Charoenkul, who both had 72s.

Miguel Tabuena likewise put on an early charge of two birdies after nine holes but like majority of the surviving field, the Filipino teener succumbed to pressure and exacting condition, closing out with 38 for a 72.
He had a 217, the same output put in by Taiwan’s Hsu Mong-nan, who had a 71, Thai Panuwat Muenlek, who hobbled with a 73, and Canada’s Richard Lee, who groped for a 74.

Carl Santos-Ocampo, just two shots behind at the halfway point of the seventh leg of the Asian Tour, birdied three of the first five holes in impressive fashion to find himself on top of the surviving 76-player field in one stretch. But the Fil-Am find, winner of one leg on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, tumbled down just as quickly as he fell victim to the layout’s most feared hole – the par 3 No. 8 – where he made a 7.

He never recovered from that big mishap as he fumbled with four more bogeys against a lone birdie to finish with a 76 for a 220.

Lin dished out a sterling start of four birdies after 15 holes and looked headed for a big finish and a big cushion heading to the final round only to reel back with back-to-back bogeys from No. 16.

With Lin bracing for a shootout with the two Thais in Sriroj and Ingkhapradit, Salvador hopes to come up with strong finishing kick against Cyr and Kim in the second-to-last flight as he tries to snap a long search for an Asian Tour crown.

The event is sponsored by the Solaire Resort and Casino and supported by the Department of Tourism, Hyundai, Pru Life UK, Nescafé Dolce Gusto and Omega. Other backers are Holiday Inn Manila Galleria, Johnnie Walker, Asahi Super Dry, Srixon, Panasonic, Canon, and PepsiCo.(pr)

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