Kearney suffers "Shark" bite in Vietnam
 The par-3 fourrh a The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip

The par-3 fourrh a The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip

Niall Kearney made the cut but fell victim to the spectacular Greg Norman designed The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip course in round three of the US$1.5 million Ho Tram Open.

The Dubliner had to retun to course created by the "Great White Shark" at 6.30am to complete his weather-delayed second round. 

But while he completed a one over 72 to make the two over par cut with ease in tied 48th on level par, a three over 74 in round three was not what the Royal Dublin man had in mind.

A triple bogey six at the terrifying, 172-yard, par-three fourth did most of the damage though he also had two three-putts and mixed four birdies with four bogeys.

Kearney is tied 58th on threee over while at the top of the leaderboard, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang overcame an early wobble to post a three-under-par 68 for two-shot lead over Spaniard Sergio Garcia and  South Africa’s Shaun Norris.

Lin, 41, made a bogey and double bogey in his opening four holes before fighting back with six birdies for a three-day total of 13-under-par 200 total in the inaugural Asian Tour tournament.

 Ho Tram, Vietnam 5 December 2015 - Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei in action during round three of the Ho Tram Open. The US$1.5 million event is played at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip from December 3 to 6. Photo by Khalid Redza/ Asiantour

Ho Tram, Vietnam 5 December 2015 - Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei in action during round three of the Ho Tram Open. The US$1.5 million event is played at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip from December 3 to 6. Photo by Khalid Redza/ Asiantour

World number 12 Garcia endured a topsy-turvy day as well en route to a 68 which kept him in the chase for a first title of the year alongside Norris, who charged into contention with a 65 in Vietnam’s richest sporting event, dubbed Asia’s Grandest Stage.

Thai veteran star Thaworn Wiratchant, bidding for a record 19th Asian Tour victory, carded a 68 to lie three back alongside a resurgent Indian Himmat Rai, who also carded a 68. American Paul Peterson (68) will start the final round four shots back of the leader.

Six-time winner Lin said he was nervous playing alongside Garcia in the final group before recovering his composure with some fantastic iron play.

“I played with the star players, so I felt a bit scared. My caddy told me to calm down and I recovered nicely,” he said.

“After that I didn’t hit a single bogey and on the 17th hole, I had a 25-foot birdie. I was like ‘wow, I’m so lucky’. After being three over, I said, let’s do this. No time to be scared anymore.

“Sergio hits the ball so long and he is such a nice guy. Every time I make a birdie, he will tell me ‘good birdie Lin’. I haven’t won in two years but my wife told me not to think ahead. I just want to enjoy the final round tomorrow. If the win comes then good, if not, I’ll try again next time.”

Ryder Cup star Garcia, who returned early in the morning to complete his weather-disrupted second round in 68, dropped a double bogey on six after finding bushes with his drive and then dropped a closing bogey with an errant drive. But six birdies on the card ensured he remained within striking reach.

“I was bruised by one bad drive. On six, I hit it exactly where I wanted but the wind was coming in from the right and I hit a cut and the ball didn’t move. 

"The one on 18 wasn’t a good drive. Overall I felt like I played quite well other than those two holes. 

“Made some good putts on the back nine, missed some short ones for birdies too but I guess even with those hiccups, I still have a chance,” said the 35-year-old, who holds 22 Tour wins around the world.

As for the course, the links-style layout located two hours southeast of Ho Chi Minh City has been hailed by many of the world’s leading authorities on golf since opening in October 2014.

In January, GOLF Magazine named it one of the world’s best new courses. In July, the Australian Financial Review called it “as pretty a course as you’ll find on the entire Asian continent. Last month it was named the World’s Best New Course at the World Golf Awards ceremony in Portugal.

Ho Tram Open, Par 71, 6,797 Yards, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip course

Detailed scores

200 – LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 65-67-68

202 – Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 66-71-65, Sergio GARCIA (ESP) 66-68-68

203 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 64-71-68, Himmat RAI (IND) 66-69-68

204 – Paul PETERSON (USA) 66-70-68

206 – Geoff OGILVY (AUS) 69-70-67, Charlie WI (KOR) 62-72-72

207 – Sunghoon KANG (KOR) 72-68-67, Thomas BJORN (DEN) 69-70-68, KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 67-71-69, Terry PILKADARIS (AUS) 71-67-69, Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 65-70-72, Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 68-67-72.

216 - Niall KEARNEY (IRL) 70-72-74