Guido van der Valk turned what he deemed was a flawed chip shot into an unexpected birdie at the finish, saving a 75 that enabled him to tie Joenard Rates at the helm after three rounds in the ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters at the Villamor Golf Club on Friday.
Head bowed, Van der Valk dropped both arms to his knees in frustration after chipping way past the hole on the par-5 No. 18 but the Dutchman returned a clutch 10-footer for birdie to seize a share of the lead as Rates missed the go-ahead par putt from a shorter distance.
Rates was also undone by a double bogey on 17.
On a day when the chief contenders battled tough pin placements and tricky surfaces, Van der Valk tied Rates on 212, two shots ahead of Marvin Dumandan and Jhonnel Ababa who carded a 73 and 74, respectively.
Fidel Concepcion fired one of the day’s three best scores of 70 to move to joint fifth on 216 with Gerald Rosales and Reymon Jaraula, who matched par-72s and Keanu Jahns who faded with a 78 after a solid 33 at the front.
After a birdie on 9 from long range to get a share of the lead with Rates, the Fil-German got into trouble with his tee shots that led to a triple bogey on 10, bogeys on 12 and 16, and double bogeys on 17 and 18.
Jahns, however, remains just four strokes off the pace.
Van der Valk found the greens a lot tougher, flubbing par putts on 4, 5 and 7 to fall four strokes off Rates, who traded two birdies against the same number of bogeys for a 36, at the turn.
“I struggled with the speed of the greens today, I don’t know why,” said the Dutchman.
“If you play this course for four days, bogeys will come at some point because it’s that kind of golf course, no one will run away with it. We just need to stay patient.”
The leading scores:
212 — Joenard Rates 65-71-76, Guido van der Valk 70-67-75
214 — Jhonnel Ababa 69-71-74, Marvin Dumandan 71-70-73
216 — Fidel Concepcion 74-72-70, Keanu Jahns 71-67-78, Reymon Jaraula 70-74-72, Gerald Rosales 71-73-72
217 — Bonifacio Salahog 72-75-70, Nilo Salahog 70-74-73
218 — Gary Sales (am) 72-70-76, Elmer Salvador 73-74-71
219 — Art Arbole 72-71-76, Rolando Marabe Jr. 71-70-78
221 — Rico Depilo 72-74-75, Kim Seong Guk 73-72-76, Kim Min Seong 77-71-73
222 — Jay Bayron 71-72-79, Elee Bisera 77-73-72, Frankie Minoza 74-77-71, Robert Pactolerin 75-73-74, Rho Hyun Ho 69-78-75, Elmer Saban 74-74-74
223 — Russell Bautista 74-74-75, Rupert Zaragosa 77-76-70
224 — Jerson Balasabas 76-75-73, Toru Nakajima 70-74-80, Arnold Villacencio 76-76-72
225 — Rufino Bayron 76-73-76
226 — Gabriel Manotoc 73-77-76, Richard Sinfuego 77-70-79.