GEN. TRIAS, Cavite – Jobim Carlos and Rupert Zaragosa took the 1-2 posts despite churning out identical two-over 74s as erstwhile leader Alvin Hiew of Malaysia fell with a thud with a 12-over 84 in exacting condition in the third round of the 2015 Philippine Amateur Stroke Play Championship at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club here Thursday.
Defending champion LJ Go of Cebu blew a two-under card in the final hole in a wind-blown day at the Aoki layout made more daunting by tough pin placements. He settled for an even-par 72 and stayed five shots off the pace heading to the final round of the 72-hole championship serving as the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour’s kickoff leg.
But through the day-long ordeal, Carlos and Zaragosa kept their poise to set up a shootout for the crown although the former, seeking to nail the big one before joining the pro ranks next month, missed posting a bigger lead with two bogeys in the last four holes at the front for a 39-35 card and a 217 aggregate.
“I was still fine until those late bogeys came in. I think more than the wind, which I am used to by now, the holes were put in difficult positions that made it doubly hard to go for birdies,” said Carlos, who is in his final semester at the University of San Francisco.
He stood one stroke ahead of Zaragosa, who seized control in the opening round with a four-under 68 only to slip to third with a wicked 76 Wednesday. But the reigning national junior champion and spearhead of Lyceum team missed joining Carlos at the helm with a bogey on the ninth that marred his 37-37 round.
“I was bothered by the wind,” said Zaragosa, who nevertheless stayed in the title hunt with a 218. “I have to work even more in the final round tomorrow (today).”
Go, who beat Carlos by 11 to capture the crown at Wack Wack last year but stood way behind with a 77-73 start, charged back into contention with a stirring four-birdie string from No. 12. But the Cebuano ace stumbled with a double-bogey on the par-3 No. 16, bogeyed the 18th and put to naught his lone frontside birdie on No. 7 with a double-bogey on the par-4 ninth for a 72 and a 222.
Korean Park Min Ung put on a fiery 32 at the back en route to posting the day’s best score of two-under 70 but his 225 aggregate kept him eight shots behind Carlos with 18 holes left to play in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Group and B Hotel in Alabang and organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Singapore’s Marc Ong also shot himself in the foot with an 80 and joined Park at 225, just a stroke ahead of Kiew, who, like Ong, never recovered from a triple-bogey mishap on No. 4, making two bogeys and the same number of double bogeys plus another triple bogey on No. 13 for a birdie-less 42-42 card and a 226.
Jelbert Gamojo carded a 75 and took solo seventh at 227 while Korean Kim Dong Min and Liam Cully also shot similar 75 to share eighth place at 231 with Justin Quiban, Raymart Tolentino, Raymond Gonzales and Aidric Chan, who had 78. 8-, 82 and 83, respectively.
A wild finish also loomed in the women’s side as Korean Oh Chae Yu shot a 74 for a 228 and grabbed a one-stroke lead of Asian Gamer Miya Legaspi, who missed wresting the lead with a 77 for a 229, in a tie with Thai Manuschaya Zeemakorn, who skied to an 80.
Malaysian Nur Durriyah Damian pooled a 230 after a 79 while second round leader Sam Bruce limped home with an 83 and slid to joint fifth at 231 with Korean Hwang Min Jeong, who also turned in an 83.