BINANGONAN, Rizal – Rookie pro Jobim Carlos birdied all but one of the par-5s and kept his errors to a minimum in another windy day, firing a second straight three-under 69 and grabbing a two-shot lead over erstwhile leader Rene Menor midway through the ICTSI Manila Masters at the Eastridge Golf Club here Thursday.
Carlos relied on solid shotmaking and superb iron play to take charge as the big guns continued to grope for form in hot, blustery condition, coming out of a brief drizzle at mid-noon with four birdies to negate a lone bogey mishap on the last par-5 on No. 18 and find himself on top of the elite field at 138.
“The wind was strong and the rain poured in after the first few holes. But it’s good to still score in this round,” said Carlos, now 36 holes away from scoring an early breakthrough for one of the best players to have come out of the amateur ranks.
Carlos, who birdied the par-5 13th, the par-4 15th and the two other par-5s at the front, is enjoying top form after rallying with a 64 in the final round at ICTSI Sherwood Classic three weeks ago. Though he ended up way down at joint 18th in the Asian Development Tour event, the former national standout somehow regained his touch, rhythm and confidence which he continued to dish out after two days of the P3.5 million championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Menor, who surprised the stellar field with a 68 Wednesday, found the going tough with his putter early and made a bogey-double-bogey start but struck back with three birdies in the last 11 holes to salvage a 72.
“My putting was awful and I missed five makeable birdie putts,” rued Menor, who did drop to second at 140 but whose gritty fightback underscored the unheralded shot maker’s readiness to go up against the tour’s big guns for a crack at a first-ever crown in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.
Defending champion Angelo Que, who matched par 72 in the first round, sputtered in a late start, bogeying three of the first five holes and spent the hot day groping for form with two more bogeys against the same number of birdies. He ended up with a 75 and slipped to a share of 12th at 147 with Japanese Yuta Sudo and American Sam Ayotte, who shot a 73 and 72, respectively.
Miguel Tabuena also failed to cash in on an early start, posting a 39 at the front marred by three straight bogeys from No. 5. He stormed back with five birdies in the first six holes at the back, including four straight from No. 12, but fumbled with two bogeys in the last three holes for a 72 and 148, 10 strokes off Carlos.
“I started on the wrong foot. But I regained my composure at the back,” said Tabuena.
Clyde Mondilla, just two down at the start of the round, made an early surge with two birdies in the first six holes but the winner of the season-ending ICTSI Tournament Players’ Championship at Sherwood last year stumbled with four bogeys in a six-hole stretch from No. 9 and needed to birdie two of the last three holes to save a 72 for a 142.
Jay Bayron matched that output with a second 71 as the par-72 layout continued to bedevil the games of the strong 91-player field with the wind coming into play in most holes for the second straight day, yielding just eight under-par scores, two more than in the first round.
Frankie Miñoza opened with a triple-bogey seven on No. 10, dropped another stroke on the next but recovered with two birdies against one more bogey to close out his backside stint. He then rattled off three birdies at the front to fire a 72 and stay in the mix at 143, five strokes off Carlos.
Chris de los Santos turned in a 71 and stood at solo sixth at even 144 while Gerald Rosales, impressive with an opening 69, shot himself in the foot with a 77 and tumbled down to joint seventh with Zanieboy Gialon, Edward Reyes, Tony Lascuña and Dutch Guido Van der Valk.
Gialon also rallied with three birdies in the first seven holes at the front but bogeyed No. 8 to settle for a 70; Reyes fought back with two late birdies to card a 71; Lascuña failed to make a move despite a change in tee time, needing two birdies in the last nine holes at the front to save a 72; while Van der Valk had a rollercoaster round of five birdies against five bogeys and a double bogey and wound up with a 74.
Other four-over par scorers were Randy Garalde, who fired a 71, Jerson Balasabas, Jhonnel Ababa and Aussie Kevin Marques, who both shot 73s, Mars Pucay, who scored a second 74, and Benjie Magada, who limped with a 75.
The top 40 plus ties advanced to the money round with Anthony Fernando (71), Rufino Bayron (72), Dante Becierra (75), Rico Depilo (79), John Rey Pactolerin (76), Orlan Sumcad (76) and Korean Kim In Jae (76) pooling 153 each.
Among the notable casualties were back-to-back Riviera Classic champion Elmer Salvador (79-156), Keanu Jahns (80-158) and Korean Park Min Ung (75-159).