TAIWANESE Lin Wen-tang held his ground on 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 with one round left in the US$300,000 Solaire Open on Saturday.
Lin nearly ruined a sterling round with a horrible finish, needing to salvage a par 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 at bay 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 US$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 stroke 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 the Filipino teener succumbed to pressure and the 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 to find himself on top of the surviving 76-player field in one stretch. But the Fil-Am 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.