ST ANDREWS // Malaysia's Danny Chia flirted with more history-making at the British Open yesterday, narrowly missing a rare albatross en route to a two-over-par 74 in the third round. The Asian Tour regular, who became the first Malaysian to make the halfway cut in Open history, had the galleries rooting for him when a four-iron second shot into the par five fifth hole stopped just behind the pin.
The tap-in eagle was one of two highlights for Chia as he tamed the notorious 17th Road Hole and secured his first ever par in five rounds at the famed course. Still, Chia was disappointed with his day as two double bogeys, a bogey and a birdie on 18 meant he was over par for the third round with a four-over-par 220 total. "I thought I would have something special after the good start but I misjudged the wind a few times and got myself into trouble. I just didn't play really well," he said.
He had 211 metres to the pin on five and initially thought he did not do enough with his second shot which turned out to be a good one. His low-running ball hit the front of the green before rolling threateningly towards the pin. In Open history at St Andrews, only one player, Manny Zerman, of South Africa, has sank a two at the 568-yard hole. "I thought it didn't make it to the green. The crowds were clapping and then they suddenly went 'oh'. It just missed the hole by a matter of inches," Chia said.
But mental errors coupled with indecision with club selection proved costly as he double bogeyed the seventh and 11th holes, through a costly four-putt, before finishing strongly. "I doubted myself with the putting lines. On the seventh, we misjudged the wind and I didn't even make it to the fairway and had a bad lie in the rough. On 11, my caddie and I were so off with the club selection and I got a bit upset with the decision. I then took four putts from a difficult spot," he said.