LUBAO, Pampanga – Thai Tawit Polthai birdied the last hole to card a 71 and force a four-way tie for the lead with Aussie Andrew Campbell, Jhonnel Ababa and Keanu Jahns in the ICTSI Pradera Verde Classic yesterday here.
Polthai checked a shaky mid-round game with a closing birdie, catching Campbell, who shot the day’s best 66, Ababa, who fired a 69, and Jahns, who also put in a 71, at six-under 210 after three rounds of play in exacting conditions at the tough Pradera layout.
With David Gleeson (68), also of Australia, first round leader Andreas Gronkvist (72) of Sweden, Thais Piya Swangarunporn (71) and Namchok Tantipokhakul (72) and Tony Lascuña (70) and Clyde Mondilla (71) assembling identical 212s and halfway leader Guido Van der Valk staying in the hunt at 213 despite a 75, expect the title chase to go down to the last putt in one of the most crowded third round leaderboards in the two-year old regional circuit put up by ICTSI.
Polthai, who with Jahns started the day just one shot behind Van der Valk, birdied two of the first three holes to wrest control but fell back with five bogeys against three birdies in a 10-hole stretch from No. 5. He needed to birdie the par-5 closing hole to save a 35-36 and keep Thailand’s bid for a breakthrough PGTA win alive.
Jahns took charge at seven-under overall on a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 12 but the 25-year-old Fil-German bogeyed No. 16 and barely held on to a share of the lead with a par-save on the 18th to remain in pursuit of an elusive maiden victory in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“It’s tough to say what score to shoot tomorrow (today) given the wind condition, which blew from all directions,” said Jahns, whose best finish after seven legs was eighth at Summit Point last November.