Taipei, October 7: Local star Lu Wei-chih birdied the last hole to tie for the lead with India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu and Johannes Veerman of the United States in the third round of the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) on Saturday.
Lu, aiming to win the Yeangder TPC for the second time, birdied the 18th hole from three feet to return with a three-under-par 69 at the US$500,000 Asian Tour event.
Sandhu and Veerman, both searching for a first Asian Tour victory, posted a 68 and 70 respectively to tie on 10-under-par 206 at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
Filipino veteran Antonio Lascuna fired a 69 which was matched by Danny Chia of Malaysia, who is seeking to win his third Asian Tour title in Chinese Taipei. They are tied in fourth place on a 208 total.
The 38-year-old Lu continued his brave comeback after going through a brain surgery to remove a non-malignant tumour in 2012. He claimed a sensational victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters last year and is now in position to repeat his 2011 win at the Yeangder TPC.
He will contend for the title against Sandhu and overnight leader Veerman, who are both searching for a first Asian Tour title. Veerman was on track to retain his lead but slipped back when he double bogeyed the par-three 17th hole. He recovered nicely with a birdie on the last hole to stay in contention.
Did you know?
- This is Lu’s best 54-hole performance in 2017. He has only made three cuts in 11 appearances on the Asian Tour this year.
- He had a hole-in-one in the opening round on the par-three 11th hole. After 36 holes he has made 15 birdies against seven bogeys, three of which he made on the par-four seventh hole.
- When he won the Yeangder TPC in 2011, he battled back from a five-shot deficit. It was his last win after being diagnosed with a tumour in his brain.
- Lu did not expect to win the Mercuries Taiwan Masters last year. He never thought he could play golf again after his surgery but was pushed by family and friends to continue playing.
- Only Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand has won the Yeangder TPC twice.
- Veerman hit a poor tee shot on the par three 17th hole which landed in the bunker. He struggled to get up-and-down and two putted for double bogey.
- Veerman’s father Johan is on his bag this week. Coincidently, his father was also his caddy when he won his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title in Chinese Taipei last year.
- This is the third time Sandhu is playing in the tournament. He finished tied 53 in 2012 and missed the cut in 2013.
- Sandhu finished third at the Take Solutions Masters on home soil in August. It was his second joint best finish on the Asian Tour.
- He does not hold an Asian Tour card and is playing in this tournament through his country exemption.
Lu Wei-chih (Tpe) – Third Round 69 (-3), Total 206 (-10)
I tried to play my own game without any expectations. I maintained my tempo throughout 18 holes.
We started early in the morning and the conditions were windier and unpredictable. I had to stop a few times before hitting the ball. I don’t want to think about winning tomorrow. I want to trust my judgement on the greens.
Tomorrow is going to be a different day and I have to adapt to the different conditions. My mindset would be to get the job done.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind) – Third Round 68 (-4), Total 206 (-10)
I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I feel pretty good. I’ve been playing good for the last year and a half. I’ve been in contention a lot at home. That’s what you practise for, to contend for titles and this week is the same.
I’m playing a lot better as compared to the first two times I’ve been here. I’ve played a lot in Japan as well and that’s helped me judge the wind better. That’s key here because it gets so windy in Chinese Taipei.
I’m not going to change anything or worry about what anyone else is doing. If I play my own game, I’ll be contending and very close to winning. I’ve won three times on the PGTI including one this year.
It will be amazing if I can win tomorrow. It opens up so many opportunities and doors. Everyone is vying for that. It has a lot of importance but I’ll try and play my own game and see where it lands me. The more you put yourself in contention, the more experience you get. I think I’ll be ready for it tomorrow.
Johannes Veerman (Usa) – Third Round 70 (-2), Total 206 (-10)
The double on 17, not much went wrong there but it was bad timing. I walked up the 18th tee and told myself not to give up. There’s still so many holes left to play. I really committed to my shot and I made a great birdie there (6 feet). That turned my mood around because now I’m not starting from behind.
I was playing really good golf before the double bogey. I only had one bogey and was playing consistent golf. I just hit it in the bunker, left my chip just short and two putted. I’m tied in the lead and I’m feeling good. It is going to be a good dogfight out there.
When you are starting out playing on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), you want to try and make money and stay afloat. It turns from trying to make money to trying to beat guys. I’m not thinking about bank accounts and I want to beat these guys because they are good.
Danny Chia (Mas) – Third Round 69 (-3), Total 208 (-8)
I hit my driver very badly. I changed to a softer shaft this week so it has a bit too much spin in the wind. My swing is okay but the ball is moving too much in the air. I only found four fairways today. My recovery and short game saved me today. It was very tough and mentally tiring because I struggled so much with my driver.
Antonio Lascuna (Phi) – Third Round 69 (-3), Total 208 (-8)
My driver and irons were good. I left a lot of my putts short. I’ve been struggling with gout and only started practising two days before the Mercuries Taiwan Masters last week. Before that, I was out of action for two weeks. Now I’m feeling better.
Scores after round 3 of the Yeangder TPC being played at the par 72, 7108 Yards Linkou GcC course (am – denotes amateur):
206 – Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) 69-69-68, LU Wei-chih (TPE) 69-68-69, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 67-69-70.
208 – Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 69-70-69, Danny CHIA (MAS) 68-71-69.
209 – Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 71-68-70.
211 – LEE Chia-hao (TPE) 70-73-68, Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) 73-71-67, Younghan SONG (KOR) 73-70-68, Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 75-67-69, SUNG Mao-chang (TPE) 70-67-74, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 70-67-74, Dodge KEMMER (USA) 68-69-74.
212 – Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 71-70-71.
213 – WANG Wei-lun (TPE) 74-69-70, LIN Wen-ko (TPE) 71-71-71, KAO Shang-hung (TPE) 70-71-72, Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) 72-69-72, Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 70-68-75.
214 – Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 72-71-71, Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 71-73-70, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 74-69-71, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 72-70-72, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 76-70-68.
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