Berry Henson of the US battled through dehydration on the final four holes to take the third-round lead at the Philippine Open yesterday.
Henson, an Asian Tour rookie, posted a one-under-par 71 in tough scoring conditions where only nine players broke par at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Manila.
Jbe’ Kruger of South Africa, who finished second on three occasions last year, and Filipino hope Jay Bayron were two strokes back after shooting 73 and 74 respectively, for a 212 total in the US$300,000 event.
Taiwan’s Wang Ter-chang shared fourth place at 214 with Thai trio Pariya Junhasavasdikul, Chapchai Nirat and Prom Meesawat, as well as Filipino Mars Pucay.
Wang, a former Philippine Open champion in 1992, bogeyed two of his last three holes, but was delighted to be in the running of securing his first top-10 finish since 2008.
“The course was very difficult because it was playing longer by at least 40 yards. I’m aiming to finish in the top 10 tomorrow. That will be an excellent result for me,” the four-time Asian Tour winner said.
Henson was blemish free with three birdies after 14 holes, but fell dizzy because of dehydration as he returned with two bogeys for a six-under-par 210 total.
“I really had it going after my birdie on 13, but started feeling dehydrated and dizzy, and made a couple of stumbles coming in,” said Henson, who won his first international title on the Asian Development Tour two weeks ago.
He said playing at the Wack Wack was like boxing with Filipino legend Manny Pacquaio.
“My game is feeling really sharp right now, but the course is so difficult. It is like fighting against Pacquaio. You can’t go for the KO, but need to box your way around,” the 31-year-old said.
Bayron, a former caddy, made a flying start with three straight birdies from the fourth hole, before wobbling with five bogeys.
“My driving and irons let me down. The course is very difficult and I need to keep the ball on the fairways to give myself a chance tomorrow,” the 2005 Southeast Asian Games team gold medalist said.
Australian Brad Smith shot the best score of the day with a 68 to move up to tied 13th place, six strokes from the leader.