Aboitiz Invitational: Munson wavers but grabs 1-shot lead with 66



SILANG, Cavite – Brett Munson went on a birdie-binge and hit an eagle at back but bogeyed the last two holes to settle for a six-under 66 and a one-stroke lead over Tony Lascuña and Jhonnel Ababa in the lightning-delayed second round of the Aboitiz Invitational at Riviera’s Couples course here Thursday.

Munson was at 10-under 134 with Lascuña and Ababa just behind at 135 after a 69 and 70, respectively. Angelo Que, who shared the first round lead with Ababa Wednesday, was a shot farther back at 136 after a 71 in the $100,000 Asian Development Tour event sponsored by Aboitiz and co-staged by ADT and the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.

Brett Munson blasts out of a bunker on hole No. 17.
Brett Munson blasts out of a bunker on hole No. 17.

Lightning was detected just before tee off at 6:40 a.m. forcing the ADT tournament committee to set back the start by one hour and 10 minutes.

Already impressive with a 68 in the opener, Munson hit putts from any distance and angle from Nos. 10 to 13 where he teed off to tie Que in the early going.

When Que holed out with a bogey on the 14th, Munson made an eagle on the par-4 16th off a solid Hybrid shot from 236 yard that landed 15 feet short of the cup. One good read was all he needed to seize control, which he held till the end of another rain-hit day.

“Yeah, the holes had seemed bigger to me,” said Munson when asked to describe his string of birdies at the onset for a six-under 30 at the turn.

He rammed in three more birdies against a bogey on No. 3 but missed signing in an eight-under card with bogeys in the last two holes, including a muffed downhiller from six feet for par on No. 8 and on the ninth which he described as an impossible hole to make two putts with the pin strategically placed on a big sloping area.

“The pin placement on the ninth was ridiculous. There’s really no chance to two-putt there for par. Those bogeys annoyed me but I cannot be upset from here,” said Munson, winner of five titles on US mini tours. “Just happy to be in the lead.”

Lascuña remained bogey-free after 36 holes but slowed down a bit with a 69 after a 66 and Ababa birdied the two of the last nine holes at the front for 135s while Que scrambled for a 71 for a 136 after a fiery lead-sharing 65 in the opener of the 72-hole championship sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.

“My timing off the tees was off. It was a good thing the ball fell in the middle of the fairway most of the time. It is difficult to play under the rain. I hope it will be sunny tomorrow (today),” said Lascuña in Pilipino.

Que, who leaned on his superb putt in shooting a 65 Wednesday, said he was satisfied with his driving and iron play but made two three putts on Nos. 3 and 5 and missed three birdie chances from close range.

“Putting didn’t click,” said Que, who dropped into a tie with Thai Poosit Supupramai, who shot a 69, while veteran Asian Tour campaigner Mars Pucay fired a second 69 for a 138.

Scot James Byrne rebounded from a 75 with a bogey-free eight-under 64 in winter rules, lifting last week’s ADT winner in Jakarta from joint 80th to a share of eighth at 139 with Miguel Tabuena, who carded a 71, and pro-am tournament winner Casey O’Toole of the US, who matched par 72,

Elmer Salvador virtually kissed his bid for a record three-peat goodbye at 145 after a 77 for joint 37th but Frankie Miñoza hardly recovered from a disastrous start of 77 with a 71 for a 148 and missed the 50-plus ties cut by two.

Meanwhile, Aboitiz Equity Ventures CEO Erramon Aboitiz has cited the Aboitiz Invitational emergence as one of the premier tournaments on the Asian Development Tour with this year’s prize money nearly doubled to $100,000, making it one of the major events on the ADT calendar.

“We are proud of how the Aboitiz Invitational continues to gain stature as a significant leg on the ADT,” said Aboitiz, adding that the AEV is backing other sporting events such as the Aboitiz Football Cup in Cebu, the Aboitiz Triathlon in Pico de Oro, the AboitizPower Tour of Subic and the Cleanergy Travellers Series for the Philippine Sailing Foundation.

“While we are very serious about running our various businesses, we are just as serious about a balanced lifestyle, intertwined with fun and enjoyment. We believe this enhances the overall long-term effectiveness of the organization in line with our vision to make Aboitiz a truly sustainable enterprise that we can entrust to future generations,” said Aboitiz.

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