GEN. TRIAS, Cavite – Jobim Carlos never let up and romped with a solid six-under 66 to all but retain the men’s crown while Harmie Constantino slowed down with a 71 but still pulled away by eight in women’s play in the third round of the Philippine Amateur (Stroke Play) Open Golf Championship at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club here Thursday.
Carlos, who stormed to a six-shot lead with a 68 Wednesday, sustained his charge in a fiery frontside stint that saw him gun down five birdies before settling for one birdie in the last nine holes he highlighted with a couple of scrambling pars to start his backside bid.
With a nine-under 207 aggregate, the defending champion stood 10 shots ahead of Cebu-based Japanese Gen Nagai of Cebu Country Club, who shot a 69 for a 217, as Korean Jang Jun Ha faltered with a 73 and slid to third at 220 and Carlo Villaroman and Aidric Chan lay 18 strokes behind at 225 after a pair of 72s.
Carlos said later he struggled with his long game but leaned on his hot putter to turn in his most impressive round in three days, moving 18 holes away from capping his final stint in the ranks with a second straight victory in the country’s premier amateur championship sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, PLDT and Metro Pacific Investment Corp.
Despite his huge lead, Carlos, who also won the NGAP National Doubles title with Inigo Raymundo last week, remains wary of his chances but stresses the need to stay focused and not force the issue.
“It will still depend on how I would start tomorrow (today). But I need to remain focused although I think I have to play a conservative game and just keep the ball in play,” said Carlos, set to join the new season of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour next month.
Unlike Carlos, Constantino cooled down in another benign condition at Aoki layout and finished with four birdies against three bogeys for that 71. But like the former University of San Francisco standout, she went unassailably ahead at five-under 211 total, now eight shots ahead of Korean Lee Ji Hyeon and Yuka Saso, who stood at 219 after a 71 and 73, respectively.
“I didn’t hit the fairways and greens that much today (yesterday). But I’m comfortable with my lead now, unless I play horrible in the final round,” said Constantino, who missed six fairways and eight greens but still came through with four birdies, including tap-ins on Nos. 6 and 12, against bogeys on Nos. 4, 8 and 10.
Hwang Min Jeong, another Korean bet who won a ladies pro tournament last year, matched par 72 for a 220 while Malaysian Nur Durriyah Damian groped for a 75 for a 223.
Rupert Zaragosa, tipped to slug it out with Carlos for the crown, shot himself in the foot with a 77 and tumbled to ninth at 228 behind Korean Jang Yu Bin (77), Cebuano Weiwei Gao of Alta Vista Golf and Country Club (77) and Ira Alido (79), who all pooled 226s in the event kicking off the 2016 PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.