Korean-American Chan Kim grabbed the third round lead at the US$300,000 ICTSI Philippine Open, despite shooting a quadruple bogey on the challenging par-three eighth hole on Saturday.
Kim, winner of the 2013 Asian Tour Qualifying School, surprised even himself when he returned from the penultimate round on five-under-par 211 to lead by one shot at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
Overnight leader Marcus Both of Australia shot a disappointing 76 to share second place with Filipino Jay Bayron (69), the 2012 Asian Development Tour Order of Merit winner and Wang Jeung-hun (72) of Korea in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
Filipino veteran Antonio Lascuna, Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij, a winner on the Asian Tour and Tour rookie Nathan Holman of Australia were a further two shots back in tied fifth on 214.
Kim was one-under for the day before heading into the eighth hole where his wayward tee shot landed 40 yards away from the elevated green. After hitting his second shot into a tree branch, Kim found himself in more trouble when his third and fourth shots landed inside the greenside sand trap.
He two-putted for seven and walked away with another bogey on 10. Despite the setbacks, Kim showed true grit to birdie 12, 13 and 15 to put himself in prime position to win his first Asian Tour title.
“It felt like I was playing mini golf on the eighth hole,” he laughed. “To be honest, I’m very surprised to be in the lead! I didn’t think that five-under would be leading the tournament. I’m definitely shocked because I thought someone would shoot a low number.”
The big-hitting Kim was in a similar position at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship on the Asian Tour in Chinese Taipei last year but was denied victory by Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand. He is determined not to let another chance at victory slip out of his grasp again.
“I’m feeling a bit nervous and excited. Last year I had the lead going into the final round in a Chinese Taipei event and I would like to get some redemption there and win a tournament this week,” said the 24-year-old Kim.
Both, a two-time Asian Tour winner, bogeyed three of his closing four holes but he is still in the running to end a five-year title drought on the region’s premier Tour.
“It is a bit frustrating to waste a couple of shots in the last few holes but I’m not the only one making a couple of bogeys coming in. This golf course will bite you sometime in the week and I was hoping it didn’t happen but it did,” said Both.
Wang, winner of the 2014 Mission Hills Haikou Open on the PGA Tour China, made three birdies on his front nine but stumbled on the back when he bogeyed 12 and three putted for double bogey on the 18th hole.
“I’m feeling a bit nervous but I will try my best to win tomorrow,” said the unassuming Wang, who lived in the Philippines to play and practise golf with his father for five years when he was younger.
“My short game and putting were great. I was hitting my iron shots left and right so that was a bit disappointing. I like this course. It isn’t playing that long and I like the greens. I find it easy to read the lines on the greens so I hope for a good round tomorrow,” added the 18-year-old.
EurAsia Cup star Siddikur, a two-time Asian Tour winner, rued two unlucky double bogeys on holes 13 and 18 as he returned with a 76, his highest score in three days.
“I was a bit unlucky. My ball was plugged in the bunker on the 13th hole and my tee shot on number 18 hit a tree and landed in the bush so I had to take a penalty drop. I’m still in a good position with one more day to go. Anything can happen tomorrow. Hopefully I can get my best round on the last round,” said Siddikur.
Scores after round 3 of the ICTSI Philippine Open 2014 being played at the par 72, 7222 Yards Wack Wack GcC course (a- denotes amateur):
211 – Chan KIM (USA) 66-72-73.
212 – Jay BAYRON (PHI) 71-72-69, WANG Jeung-hun (KOR) 72-68-72, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 70-66-76.
214 – Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 74-72-68, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 74-71-69, Nathan HOLMAN (AUS) 71-71-72.
215 – Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 79-67-69, HSIEH Tung-shu (TPE) 77-68-70, Jarin TODD (USA) 73-71-71, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 74-74-67, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 66-73-76.
216 – Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 71-75-70, Anura ROHANA (SRI) 75-70-71, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 70-75-71, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 72-72-72, Mithun PERERA (SRI) 71-72-73.
217 – Ryan YIP (CAN) 72-73-72, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 75-70-72, Rico DEPILO (PHI) 76-68-73, Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA) 73-70-74, George GANDRANATA (INA) 72-76-69, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 72-70-75, Rupert SARAGOZA (am, PHI) 71-71-75.