Ira Alido hit a late birdie to card a one-under 71 and tie Korean Tom Kim at the helm while Yuka Saso matched par 72 to open a six-stroke lead in girls’ division of the 2016 Philippine Junior Amateur Match Play Golf Championship at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa Tuesday.
Kim, gunning for a sweep of the national titles after winning the stroke play crown three weeks ago, actually headed for an explosive outing after gunning down three birdies at the front but he wavered at the back, fumbling with two bogeys and enabling Alido to gain a share of the lead at the start of the 36-hole stroke play elims.
Alido made two birdies against a bogey at the front but fumbled with two bogeys against a birdie after six holes coming home, needing to birdie the par-5 16th to catch Kim at the helm of the week-long event held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT, Smart, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and the Philippine Sports Commission.
The duo stood four shots ahead of another Korean John Jun, who carded a 75, while locals Carlo Villaroman, Aniceto Mandanas, Cebuano Peter Tyler Po and Liam Cully each shot a 76 for joint fourth followed by Ryan Monsalve, who turned in a 77.
Luis Castro carded a 78 while Dan Emilio Cruz and Jolo Magcalayo hobbled with a pair of 80s but hope to rebound in the last 18 holes today and stay in the hunt for berths in the knockout stage of the annual event, organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines, which begins Thursday.
Saso, meanwhile, rallied mightily from an opening 40 with a scorching eagle-spiked windup, finishing with a 32 for that 72 that put the Queen Sirikit Cup veteran six strokes ahead of Korean Hwang Min Jeong and Koh Eun A, who both had 78s.
Cebuana Lois Kaye Go carded a 79 for fourth, Kristine Torralba skied to an 80 while defending champion Harmie Constantino groped for form with a 41-40 for an 81 followed by Ashia Nocum, Jona Magcalayo, Annika Guangko and Yun Ji Jang, who shot 82, 84, 91 and 100, respectively.
Saso, out to redeem herself from last year’s setback to Constantino, reeled from four straight bogeys from No. 4 but caught fire in the last five holes, birdying No. 14, ramming in an eagle on the par-5 16th then holing out with another birdie for that 32.
Meanwhile, Luigi Guerrero made a 77 to post a two-shot lead over Gabriel Manotoc, who carded a 79, in the special division 18-years-and-above with Polo Lauron and Ivan Monsalve turning in 81 and 83, respectively, while Francis Lanuza shot an 85 and took a one-stroke lead over Zachary Castro in the 13-and-below side.
Diana Araneta made a 92 in the girls’ 18-and-above while Sunshine Zhang carded an 81 and took a 10-stroke lead over Mikaela Arroyo in the girls’ 13-and-below section.
Meanwhile, the knockout phase will start Thursday with the boys playing two rounds. The quarterfinals and the semifinals in both categories will be held Friday while the finals, also set for 36 holes in both categories, will be played Saturday.
Also on tap is the special division for boys’ and girls’ 13-and-below.
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