BINTAN (Indonesia): Canadian veteran Rick Gibson produced a storming finish with two birdies to snatch the third round lead at the inaugural Motorola International Bintan yesterday.
Gibson, 45, battled to a three-under-par 69 at a sun-kissed Ria Bintan Golf Club to top the leaderboard on 10-under-par 206, one shot clear of South Korea's Mo Joong-Kyung (66) and overnight leader Adam Blyth (72) of Australia in the US$350,000 Asian Tour event.
Taiwan's Lu Wen-teh rewrote the course record with a blistering 64 to charge into a share of fourth place with former Australian Open winner Peter Fowler, compatriot Unho Park, American duo Jason Knutzon and Clay Devers and Korea's Park Jun-won.
Gibson, a multiple winner in Canada and Asia, surged ahead of a crowded leaderboard for a glorious finish with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes, which plays spectacularly towards the South China Sea.
He conceded being lucky on the penultimate hole after landing in a divot on the fairway.
“There's not a whole lot of bailout on that hole as there's the ocean on the left and back of the green. I actually pulled my eight iron to end up four feet off the pin, I'll be honest about that!” said Gibson, chasing his first win since the 2002 Philippine Open.
Manila-based Gibson signed off in style, nailing an exquisite seven iron to three feet at the signature par three hole at the last with its green nestled on the rocky beachfront.
The Canadian took last week off to rectify flaws in his game with a swing coach and hopes it will lead him to glory. But Gibson warned that the 18th will be make-or-break on Sunday.
“Day by day, the swing is getting better. It'll be under the microscope a bit tomorrow,” he said.
“The pin on 18th is dead centre of the green today. Tomorrow is going to be back left as I saw the yellow spot there, it could be decisive tomorrow.” – AFP