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St Andrews: Malaysia’s Danny Chia flirted with more history-making at the British Open on Saturday, narrowly missing a rare albatross en route to a two-over-par 74 in the third round.
The Asian Tour regular, who became the first Malaysian to make the halfway cut in Open history, had the galleries rooting for him when a four-iron second shot into the par five fifth hole stopped just behind the pin.
The tap-in eagle was one of two highlights for Chia as he tamed the notorious 17th Road Hole by securing a first ever par in five rounds at the famed Old Course.
Still, Chia was disappointed with his day as two double bogeys, a bogey and a birdie on 18 meant he was over par for the third round with a four-over-par 220 total.
“I thought I would have something special after the good start but I misjudged the wind a few times and got myself into trouble. I just didn’t play really well,” said Chia.
He had 211 meters to the pin on five and initially thought he did not do enough with his second shot which turned out to be a good one. His low-running ball hit the front of the green before rolling threateningly towards the pin.
In Open history at St Andrews, only one player, Manny Zerman of South Africa, has sank a two at the 568-yard hole.
“I thought it didn’t make it to the green. The crowds were clapping and then they suddenly went ‘oh’. It just missed the hole by a matter of inches,” said Chia.
But mental errors coupled with indecision with club selection proved costly as he double bogeyed the seventh and 11th holes, through a costly four-putt, before finishing strongly.
“I doubted myself with the putting lines. On the seventh, we misjudged the wind and I didn’t even make it to the fairway and had a bad lie in the rough. On 11, my caddie and I were so off with the club selection and I got a bit upset with the decision. I then took four putts from a difficult spot,” said Chia.
But he finally got even with the Old Course’s penultimate, if not, most famous hole. After finding himself short of the green for the second straight day, he opted to pitch up his third, which he did so exquisitely to set up a simple tap-in par. In four rounds at 17, he had been five over.
“I was pleased. It probably inspired me to birdie the last. I hit a good tee shot off the tee and told my caddie there was no way I was in the rough but when we went up te fairway, it was just a few inches away from a decent lie and to a lie that I even couldn’t see my ball.
“I hacked it out to about the same distance as yesterday. But this time, I chipped it up and didn’t even ask my caddie what he thought as he would have given me the putter like yesterday. I hit it pure to two feet from 65 meters and it worked out perfectly. It was a nice way to finish on 18 with the birdie, especially with the galleries around the clubhouse.”

Asian Tour

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