CANLUBANG – La Salle-Zobel’s Ira Alido came charging back at the front to shoot a 71 and pad his lead to three over Jolo Magcalayo and Rupert Zaragosa while Harmie Constantino wrested control in women’s play with a 69 halfway through the W Express RVF Cup Amateur Golf Championship at Cangolf’s North course here Wednesday.
Alido birdied three of the last five holes to turn a two-over card into another under-par effort as the 16-year-old Manila Southwoods mainstay followed up his opening 70 with a 34-37 to firm up his lead at 141 heading to the last 36 holes of the championship held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, Cignal and Metro Pacific Investments.
Magcalayo and Zaragosa stood at 144 after a pair of 73s with the former settling for a one double-bogey-birdie card and the latter fumbling with three bogeys against two birdies while Carl Corpus rallied with a 71 to move to joint fifth at 145 with Alta Vista Golf and Country Club’s Weiwei Gao, who groped with a 74.
Korean Joo Hyung Kim shot the day’s best bogey-free four-under 68 to bounce back into contention with a 146 while Yuto Katsuragawa, another Southwoods bet who with Corpus ruled the National Doubles late last year, also rebounded from an opening 77 with a 70 but still lay six shots behind Alido at 147 in a tie with Paolo Wong (76).
Alido, who struggled with three bogeys against two birdies at the back, appeared headed for an early foldup with back-to-back bogeys from No. 3 that negated his birdie on No. 2. But the 2016 Philippine Junior amateur champion came through with clutch shots and putts, birdying Nos. 5, 6 and 8 to stay on track of the crown.
Constantino, meanwhile, also leaned on late birdies to surge past erstwhile joint leaders Mikha Fortuna and Bernice Olivarez-Ilas and grabbed a one-stroke lead in the distaff side of the 72-hole championship organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and held in honor of the late golf patron and former NGAP president Rod Feliciano.
The former national champion actually sizzled early and shot a 33 at the front, spiked by birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 7. But she opened the backside with back-to-back bogeys and needed to birdie No. 14 and 16 to complete a 69 and storm ahead at 144.
Fortuna threatened to pull away with three straight birdies from No. 2 but the top The Country Club mainstay wavered with back-to-back bogeys from No. 16, enabling Constantino to move ahead. Despite her shaky finish, Fortuna remained within striking distance at 145 while Korean Hwang Min-jeong shot a 71 to be at 146.
Pauline Del Rosario hardly recovered from a 78 with a 74 but moved to joint fourth with a faltering Ilas, who limped with a 78, at 152, while Yuka Saso, who started the round just one behind Fortuna and Ilas, also skied to a 78 and slid to sixth at 153.
The reigning national champion birdied No. 1 but sputtered the rest of the way, bogeying No. 3 and dropping four strokes on the par-4 eighth. She never recovered and bogeyed Nos. 10 and 14 to finish with a 40-38 and fell nine strokes off Constantino.