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    No shame in laying up as PH Open leader Kim faces final battle with Wack Wack's devilish eighth hole

    May 17, 2014
    Leader Chan Kim has gone five-over on Wack Wack's eighth hole through three days - and has a battle plan ready going to the final round of the Philippine Open. Jerome Ascano

    CHAN Kim stands 6-foot-3, with a body that looked more suited for rugby union than golf. He can also hit the ball a mile.

    Yet the Korean-American touring pro was never ashamed to admit that he will likely lay up on the devilish par-3 eighth hole of Wack Wack's East course on the Sunday of the US$300,000 ICTSI Philippine Open.

    Kim's five-under 212 total through 54 holes put him in good position for his first victory on the Asian Tour, starting the final round one shot up on thee men led by local hope Jay Bayron.

    Yet the 24-year-old also knows his shot at the championship rests on how well he will fare on Sunday at the eighth hole - which also happens to be the most famous - and most difficult - in the quaint layout in Mandaluyong.

    The eighth hole, of course, has long bedevilled some of the best players in the world with its turtle back green, sleek slopes, and a putting surface that shrinks to the size of a golf scorecard when seen from the tee.

    The tee shot is already the most daunting shot in a Philippine Open back when it was no more than from 140 yards out - and it has become even more daunting now that the teebox has been pulled back by a good 50 yards for the pros after a renovation done on the East course three years ago.

    Go ask Kim.

    The third-day leader has made a mess of the hole on Saturday, walking away from it with a big, fat 7 - the same score he posted on the hole during the second round of the Solaire Open last year to miss the cut by one.

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    "I played some mini-golf on the eighth," Kim good-naturedly said later. "And I honestly don'ty know which was worse - my 7 in that hole last year or my 7 this afternoon."

    Here's how he recounted his misadventures: "I hit my tee shot way right, then my second shot hit a tree branch. My third shot landed in the bunker and then I hit into another bunker on the other side. My ball finally reached the green with my fifth shot and I two-putted for a seven."

    Kim is now five-over on the hole through three days, but still isn't doing so badly compared to the field.

    The eighth stands as the toughest hole on the course with a 3.56 average through the first three days, with only 33.3 percent of tee shots finding the green.

    No wonder Kim - who hit a 6-iron with a three-quarter swing from 189 yards out in Day Three - has resolved to tear a page off the playbook of 2012 winner Mardan Mamat and lay up on the hole on a Sunday.

    "It's something you only want to do once in a tournament," Kim said of his 7 on the hole in the third round. "I don't want anything after the front edge of the green.

    "If I'm in the lead (going to the eighth hole on Sunday), I'll probably lay up."

    After a pause, Kim quickly corrected himself.

    "No, I'll definitely lay up."

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    Leader Chan Kim has gone five-over on Wack Wack's eighth hole through three days - and has a battle plan ready going to the final round of the Philippine Open. Jerome Ascano
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