Australia s Scott Hend stood on the brink of his fourth Asian Tour win when he carded a two-under-par 70 to regain his lead after the third round of the US$600,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Saturday. Overnight leader Sam Cyr of the United States slipped to second place after signing for a 73 on a day where only four players managed to break par at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club. Bangladesh s Siddikur remained in contention for his second win on the region s premier Tour when he posted a 71 to share third place with Thailand s Panuphol Pittayarat who carded a 72 at the richest Asian Tour event to be staged in Chinese Taipei this season. As players brace for the threat of Typhoon Fitow which is expected to bring torrential rain and gusty winds over the weekend in Tamsui, Hend stood firm to reclaim his lead which he had earlier taken in the opening round. It was pretty tough to stay focused out there. I did well through 17 holes and just lost it at the last where I made another bogey. It was very demanding and you just got to hang in there, said Hend. The Australian s previous three Asian Tour victories were all from come-behinds. But as he starts his final round in pole position, Hend is bullish about his chances after he marked his card with four birdies and two bogeys for a three-day total of five-under-par 211. It doesn’t matter whether you are in front or behind. What s important is you play good golf and that s what I m going to do tomorrow. It’s going to be a long day and we ll see what happens, said Hend. Meanwhile Cyr was blown off course by the gusty winds which packed speeds up to 48 mph. After mixing three bogeys against three birdies in his outward-nine, Cyr dropped furthers shots on holes 10 and 17. The 27-year-old American was clearly relieved when he salvaged his round with a closing birdie at the last. It was tough as you got to take your time for every single putt. Two-footer, one-footer, you got to line them up. I got to back away a few times as it was really windy. It was definitely a grind, said Cyr. Siddikur, who lost in the play-off at the 2010 Mercuries Taiwan Masters, was delighted to be among the only four players to return with a red number. It was really difficult today out there today. I was thinking par would be my friend and I told myself that I would be happy if I could get that score. So, one-under on a day like this is a bonus, said Siddikur. It’s really hard to say what s going to happen tomorrow as it all comes down to the weather. If the rain starts going down hard, it ll be anyone s game, said Siddikur, who traded three birdies against two bogeys. Panuphol s renewed confidence started to show as he stayed within sights on his career breakthrough on the Asian Tour. I had a rough start with two bogeys but I kept my mind pretty calm today and managed to work my way through. I struggled during the halfway stage as well with bogeys on the ninth and 10th, said Panuphol, who is nicknamed Coconut . But I finished well in my back-nine and I m happy that I m still hanging in there. The conditions are tough but I just got to stay patient and try my best out there, added the Thai. The Mercuries Taiwan Masters is the last chance for players to break into the top-10 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and secure their place in the lucrative CIMB Classic in Malaysia later this month.
Author: Asian Tour