Henson battles ahead in Manila

Manila, The Philippines; May 14: Berry Henson of the United States battled through dehydration in the last four holes to take the third round lead at the ICTSI Philippine Open on Saturday.

The Asian Tour rookie posted a one-under-par 71 in tough scoring conditions where only nine players broke par at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.

Jbe Kruger (pic left) of South Africa, who finished second on three occasions last year, and local hope Jay Bayron were two strokes back after shooting 73 and 74 respectively for a 212 total in the US$300,000 event.

Thai trio Pariya Junhasavasdikul, Chapchai Nirat and Prom Meesawat shared fourth place with Filipino Mars Pucay and 49-year-old Wang Ter-chang of Chinese Taipei on matching 214s.

Henson was blemish free with three birdies after 14 holes but fell dizzy due to dehydration as he returned with two bogeys for a six-under-par 210 total.“I really had it going after my birdie on 13 but started feeling dehydrated and dizzy and made a couple of stumbles coming in,” said Henson, who won his first international title on the Asian Development Tour two weeks ago.

He said playing at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club was like boxing with Filipino legend Manny Pacquaio.“My game is feeling really sharp right now but the course is so difficult. It is like fighting against Pacquaio (Manny). You can’t go for the K.O. but need to box your way around,” said the 31-year-old.

Bayron (pic right), a former caddy, made a flying start with three straight birdies from the fourth hole before wobbling with five bogeys.“My driving and irons let me down. The course is very difficult and I need to keep the ball on the fairways to give myself a chance tomorrow,” said the 2005 Southeast Asian Games team gold medallist.

Veteran Wang, a former Philippine Open champion in 1992, bogeyed two of his last three holes but was delighted to be in the running of securing his first top-10 finish since 2008. “The course was very difficult because it was playing longer by at least 40 yards. I’m aiming to finish in the top-10 tomorrow. That will be an excellent result for me,” said the four-time Asian Tour winner.

Australian Brad Smith shot the best score of the day with a 68 to move up to tied 13th place, six strokes from the leader.

Leading third round scores
210 – Berry HENSON (USA) 69-70-71
212 – Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 71-68-73, Jay BAYRON (PHI) 69-69-74
214 – Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 71-72-71, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 72-71-71, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 70-72-72, Mars PUCAY (PHI) 69-73-72, WANG Ter-chang (TPE) 69-72-73
215 – Kwanchai TANNIN (THA) 73-70-72, Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 73-69-73, Digvijay SINGH (IND) 70-72-73, Himmat RAI (IND) 68-70-77
216 – Brad SMITH (AUS) 72-76-68, Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 71-73-72, HSU Mong-nan (TPE) 74-70-72, Lucas LEE (BRA) 72-70-74

Selected scores
215 – Himmat RAI (IND) 68-70-77
223 – Frankie MINOZA (PHI) 76-72-75

Source: www.asiantour.com