Sun, Nov 23, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Two golfers share lead in Taiwan Open

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chen Chung-cheng (陳宗成) hopes to charge ahead on the final day of the Taiwan Open today. He shares the lead with Australian Jason Dawes at 4-under-par, after battling a devilish wind yesterday.

Pat Giles moved up to third place after turning in three bogeys and two birdies after nine holes, finishing at 1-under-par.

The leader from day two, Jeev Singh of India, slipped to fourth after ending at 1 over par.

Weather was a big factor as wind buffeted the Sunrise Golf and Country Club in Yangmei, Taoyuan County, blowing drives across the fairway and even making it difficult to putt. Only five of the original 26 three-man groups managed to finish the third round. The rest are scheduled to begin completing their rounds at 7:45am today, with round four play scheduled to start at 9am.

It should make for an interesting final day, as fatigue and possibly the weather conditions may have a strong influence on the outcome.

Veteran Wang Ter-chang (汪德昌), who was 2-over-par and joint sixth on the leader board at the end of day three, said the tournament was like a lottery.

"I don't like playing in the wind because it is more about luck than on a normal day," the former Taiwan Masters winner said. "It's a little bit silly, because everyone will be over par -- probably the winner will just be par."

Dawes, who was runner-up in the Thailand Open and winner of the Tahiti Open this year, dropped by two shots yesterday after starting late and completing just the first nine holes before poor light stopped play around 5pm. He was a model of consistency until the seventh hole when he double-bogeyed with a drive the player described as "way too long."

Chen, who is from Tainan and turned professional last year, was relishing the opportunity to play in his home country. He made two birdies over nine holes, with one double bogey and a bogey.

His bogey triggered some questions about a refereeing decision not to deduct a shot.

"I got into a situation at the fifth when someone in the gallery picked up my ball," Chen said. "I called the referee and the ref told the person to put it back and she did and even pressed the ball down so as not to give an advantage.

Chen, who won the 1999 domestic amateur championship, recovered with a nine-iron shot, making it to the green. He then needed two putts, resulting in the bogey.

He said his round had veered from bad luck to good.

"The miracle happened on the eighth hole, when I chipped in a birdie, just like Justin Rose on the first day," Chen said.

Fourteen-year-old Lo Shih-kai (羅士凱) stayed on target with a steady round over 15 holes of play, dropping just four shots. He said that he did not realize when he played with Andrew Pitts the previous day that the American had won this tournament in 2001.

"I didn't know that Andrew Pitts won the competition two years ago, so I wasn't nervous and I just played my game.

"I've been very happy with this opportunity to compete in the Taiwan Open and I'm glad I made the cut this year as it shows that I've progressed from last year.

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