Photo - Asian Tour
BRILLIANT PAGUNSAN STRETCHES LEAD AT BALI OPEN
New Kuta, Bali: Filipino star Juvic Pagunsan raced into a three-shot lead after a solid four-under-par 68 in the third round of the inaugural US$60,000 Bali Open on Friday.
Overnight leader Pagunsan, who started the day one ahead of the field, was in near brilliant form as he sank three birdies and one eagle in his opening 10 holes at the New Kuta Golf Resort before dropping a bogey on the 15th hole. He finished with a flourish, shooting another birdie at the 18th hole.
Former Ryder Cup star Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden stayed neck and neck with playing partner Pagunsan with a front nine 32 but called a penalty of himself on the 12th hole after he mistakenly replaced his ball in the semi-rough,which sparked three straight bogeys.
He signed for a 70 in what is the final Asian Development Tour event of the year which will reward the top-three finishers on the Order of Merit an Asian Tour card for next season.
Indonesia’s Rory Hie, Korea’s T.J. Kim and Thailand’s Thanyakorn Khrongpha have uphill tasks in their bid to break into the top-three after lacklustre third round performances.
With third-ranked Akhmal Tarmizee of Malaysia missing the halfway cut, it left the door open for them but seventh-ranked Hie, who need nothing less than a win this week, ended the third round in tied 19th position after a 79 while fourth-ranked Kim, looking for a top three finish, shot a 74 to slip to equal 12th position.
Thanyakorn, searching for a second place finish, failed to move up the leaderboard with a 74 leaving him in tied 19thplace.
Pagunsan, whose lone Asian Tour victory was achieved in Indonesia three years ago, will not rest on his laurels. “Three shots is not a big lead. It can disappear in one hole here,” said the Filipino. “I played really well on the front nine and I’ll stay aggressive in the last round.”
Shot of the day came at the par five ninth hole when the sweet-swinging Pagunsan hammered a three wood approach from 270 yards out to eight feet for his eagle. “That was really nice, certainly the shot of the day,” said Pagunsan.
Sandelin praised Pagunsan’s play. “It’s the first time I’ve played with him and he is playing really well. But it’s not over until it’s over,” said the five-time European Tour winner.
“I don’t know what happened to me on the 12th. I replaced my ball (due to the preferred lie ruling) but realized it was in the semi-rough by six inches and called a penalty on myself. Then I bogeyed the next three holes. If I can play like how I did in the first 11 holes tomorrow, then I will have a chance,” added the Swede.
Kim is six shots back of third placed Simon Dunn of Scotland and knows he must produce some fireworks to finish third. “It was hot and really tough out there. I knew at the start of the week that I needed to finish in the top three to get my Asian Tour card and I came here with high expectations. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to score despite feeling good about my game this week. I’ll need to go really low to have a chance tomorrow,” said the 40-year-old.
Merit leader S. Siva Chandhran, who has an unassailable lead, is not competing in Bali this week while second-ranked Hsu Chia-jen, who ended the third round in tied 12th place, should be safe for a top-three finish on the rankings.
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com