Lin Wen-tang of Taiwan will take a two-shot lead into the final day of the inaugural Ho Tram Open after carding a battling third round of three-under-par 68.
Lin is on 13-under-par at The Bluffs Ho Tram, two shots ahead of Spanish star Sergio Garcia and South African Shaun Norris. Garcia conjured a magical bogey save on the final hole to sign in a 68 while Norris shot a superb 65 to book his spot in tomorrow’s leader flight with Lin.
Thai stalwart Thaworn Wiratchant and India’s Himmat Rai are three shots off the pace on 10-under-par after carding matching 68s.
Lin said hat he was nervous playing with the ‘star players’ (Garcia and Charlie Wi). “I bogeyed number two and on number four, I had a double bogey because of a poor chip. My younger brother, who is my caddy, told me to calm down and I recovered nicely. After that I didn’t make a single bogey and on the 17th hole I had a 25-feet birdie,” said the 41-year-old, who has won six times on the Asian Tour.
“I haven’t won in two years but my wife told me not to think ahead. I just want to enjoy the final round. If the win comes then good, if not, I’ll try again next time,” added Lin.
Garcia trailed Lin by one shot heading into the final hole but sent his drive into bushes on a sand dune and had to take a penalty drop for an unplayable lie. He sent his next shot into thick rough on the right of the green but conjured a magical chip from a downhill lie and saved bogey from five feet.
“I won’t say the drive on 18 was fatigue. I just didn’t put a good enough swing on it and it cost me. I’m right there and I need to play well tomorrow but if it’s windy like today, it’ll be hard. You have to be patient and hopefully hit a lot of good shots and see if we can do it,” said the popular Spaniard.
With fianceé Candice Venter caddying, Norris, who won his maiden Asian Tour title in Taipei in October, wielded a hot putter to earn a final two-ball pairing with leader Lin on Sunday.
“I was putting very well and I kept giving myself birdie chances. You definitely need a lot of imagination to try and play in the wind. You need to think your way around the course but I enjoy courses that are tricky. It is like playing a game of chess,” said Norris, who uses the broomhandle putter which will be prohibited from 2016 onwards.
Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung played a superb back nine of 32 to make amends for an outward 40 and is in ninth place on six-under-par.
“I woke up at 4.30am to resume my second round in two-under and then had a quick breakfast before going out again for my third round. I was five-over on the front nine,” sad Fung.
“Everything wasn’t right, lost my focus, the swing was gone and even my putting was bad! But I managed to fight back on the back nine. I just told my caddie “let’s just play”. There’s still plenty to play for tomorrow so I’ll just go out there and enjoy the day,” added the in-form Malaysian.
The other remaining Malaysian in the field, Gavin Green, carded a 71 and is 45th on one-over-par