Taiwanese Hung leads by 1 shot
CARMONA, Cavite—Applying the lessons learned from a recent meltdown, young Taiwanese Hung Chien-yao is having fun while relentlessly pushing on against the pressure.
Steadying the ship late in his back nine, Hung finished with a flurry to fire a four-under-par 68 and wrest a one-shot lead over Jbe Kruger of South Africa after 54 holes of the Resorts World Manila Masters where the Philippines’ chances are left on the shoulders of Angelo Que.
Hung birdied three of his last five holes to make a so-so round a special one and peel himself off a three-way tie for the lead at the start of the day with a 202 total over the Manila Southwoods course that continued to take a pounding from the talented field for the third straight day.
The pocket-sized Kruger, the 2012 Avantha Masters champion in India, eagled the par-5 15th to lead but couldn’t pick up a shot in his last three holes and settled for a 69 and 203, two ahead of Lee Chieh-po—the third man in that first place tie after the second round—who managed just a 71.
Hung, who also blew the halfway lead in Macau, put some of the teachings of his coach to good use and moved on the cusps of a breakthrough pro win.
“I just try to keep doing what my coach (Dave Stockton) has been telling me,” Hung told reporters. “And that is to keep my foot on the gas—don’t let my foot leave the gas—and enjoy the ride.
“I love this course. I like it,” added the 23-year-old. “I think I will enjoy [the final round] tomorrow.”
While Hung has stayed afloat with the teachings of his coach in mind all day, Kruger is trying to put an end to a trying last two years without a teacher and his firm faith in God.
“No coach at the moment, just me and my caddy,” Kruger, who contended for the Philippine Open in 2011 when American Berry Henson won, said.
“Faith, that’s probably the biggest one,” Kruger answered when asked how he will focus for the final 18 holes. “You can try as hard as you want, but if it’s not your destiny, if it’s not God’s will, you won’t win.”
And the local hopes are now being carried by Que, the country’s No. 1 who assembled a flawless 66 on a relatively calm day, to be six adrift as Rufino Bayron, just one shot off at the start of the round, skyrocketed to a 76 and kissed his hopes goodbye at 211.
“You never know what can happen,” the jolly Que, a club member who opened with consecutive 71s, told the Inquirer after signing for a 31 in his back nine. “If I can shoot a good round [again] tomorrow (today’s final day), we’ll see.”
Jonel Ababa submitted a 71 and was seven behind, while Miguel Tabuena couldn’t recover from a wobbly start and shot himself in the foot with a level 72 to be eight strokes behind in the $1 million Asian Tour event.
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