Golf: Chinese teen Lin Yuxin keeps cool to take third-round lead at Asia-Pac Championships

China's Lin Yuxin, 17, recovered from a triple bogey to lead after the third round of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the Royal Wellington Golf Club in New Zealand.
China's Lin Yuxin, 17, recovered from a triple bogey to lead after the third round of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the Royal Wellington Golf Club in New Zealand. PHOTO: ASIA-PACIFIC AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

WELLINGTON - Seeing his strong start of three birdies in his first five holes erased by a triple bogey on the par-four sixth and sensing that his rivals were closing in, Lin Yuxin could have easily lost his cool during the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship's (AAC) third round on Saturday (Oct 28).

But with the memory of doing just that in the final round of the Hainan Open two weeks ago still fresh in his mind, the Chinese teenager took a couple of deep breaths and told himself there was still plenty of golf to be played.

"I just tried to stay as positive as I could because I had (a triple bogey) two weeks ago in Hainan, got kind of frustrated and then had another bogey," said the 17-year-old, who had been in contention before that blip but eventually finished tied-seventh on 12 under, six strokes adrift of the eventual winner.

After another bogey hiccup on the ninth, Lin steadied the ship for a blemish-free back nine that featured three more birdies to shoot a two-under 69 for the day at the Royal Wellington Golf Club and take the third-round lead on eight-under 205.

Compatriot Andy Zhang and Australian second-round leader Lee Min Woo are one stroke behind on 206.

"The most important thing is to stay patient and take the mistake in your stride," said Lin. "If you lose your cool when playing badly, you don't give yourself the chance to turn it around later."

Lin was not the only Chinese golfer to play well yesterday, with Zhang, Yuan Yechun (209, tied-fifth) and Jin Cheng (213, 15th) all shooting 67s.

Zhang, the Chinese contingent's highest-ranked player at world No. 39, had no explanation to offer for the Chinese surge, however.

He said: "I just ate dinner at the hotel. Played some ping-pong after and went to bed. That's probably the recipe to good playing - dinner, ping-pong, bed."

Second-round leader Lee shot a 71 for the day but was not happy with his performance, rating his game a "C ".

"Still, it's a pretty good position going into tomorrow and I would have taken it from the beginning of the week," said the 19-year-old.

Singapore's two remaining golfers Gregory Foo (217, tied-32nd) and Abdul Hadi (218, tied-39) both shot 73s.

Foo was one under for the day after holing a well-executed chip for birdie on the par-three 11th but faded after that with three consecutive bogeys.

The 11th hole was also the turning point for Hadi as he recovered from a four-over front nine to post three birdies.

"I made a few (course) management mistakes out there. There were some holes where I probably didn't need to use the driver and I ended up in the trees or the hazards," said Foo.