Taiwan’s Lin Wen-tang clung to the Solaire Open lead, despite dropping two shots in his final three holes of the third round at the inaugural US$300,000 Asian Tour event yesterday.
A five-time Asian Tour winner, Lin was in cruise control before he bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes, but finished his round in two-under 70 for a one-shot advantage at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
Thai veteran Thammanoon Sriroj, one of four joint leaders after the halfway stage, mixed five birdies with four bogeys for a 71 to drop one shot behind.
Compatriot Pawin Ingkhapradit, who birdied three of his closing four holes, and local favorite Elmer Salvador carded matching 71s to lie a further shot back on 214.
Lin, who sank two birdies in each nine, stumbled when trying to chip out from thick rough on the 16th and 17th.
“I don’t know if I can still win tomorrow because it has been a long time since I last won,” said Lin, who beat Rory McIlroy at the 2008 Hong Kong Open.
“I just want to enjoy the tournament. I will try and relax because I’m excited about my round,” the 39-year-old said.
“There are a lot of good players here and I will need a lot of luck to win the tournament. I’m happy with the birdies I made. I hope I can win,” he added.
Thammanoon’s mood was much darker.
“If you look at my score, you will know how inconsistent I was today,” said the Thai, a natural lefty who plays golf right-handed.
“My head wasn’t in the right place. I made many wrong club selections and that backfired on me. It was disappointing. I need to really plan my round,” added Thammanoon, who is seeking his first win since 2004.
Of the other Taiwanese players, Hsu Mong-nan was tied for 10th on a one-over 217, while Chan Yih-shin was tied for 29th with a four-over-par 220. Chan Shih-chang shared 58th place on a nine-over 225, Chiang Chen-chih was tied for 60th place on 226 and Lin Keng-chi shared 71st place with a 12-over 228.
Additional reporting by staff writer