Irawan surges with 67 as Tabuena, Shin falter

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Arie Irawan moved in the threshold of a second Asian Development Tour win as he surged past erstwhile joint leaders Micah Shin and Miguel Tabuena with a four-under 67, seizing a three-stroke lead in the third round of the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational at Eagle Ridge’s Aoki course in Gen. Trias, Cavite Friday.

Arie Irawan
Arie Irawan

Two behind Shin and Tabuena halfway through the $60,000 event, the power-hitting Irawan flaunted superb putting and produced seven birdies in a flight behind the last group in another hot but windy day. That included one on No. 17 that made up for his double-bogey mishap on the previous hole that capped his 34-33 card.

The 24-year-old Irawan, one of Malaysia’s most promising talents, then watched Shin bogey two of the last three holes to storm ahead at 209 and 18 holes away from scoring a follow-up to his breakthrough ADT win in Sime Darby in Malaysia last January.

The reed-thin Shin, who tied Tabuena at helm with a 66 Thursday, fell off the lead with an opening 37 but stayed within striking distance of Irawan with birdies on Nos. 10 and 12 until he faded with bogeys on Nos. 15 and 18. He wound up with a one-over 72 and dropped to joint second at 212 with Tabuena, who also had a 72, and American Brett Munson, who fired a 70.

Tabuena, seeking his first ADT victory, failed to get going at the front and dropped strokes on Nos. 5 and 9 but birdied the par-5 11th for that 72 while Munson birdied the last hole to move to joint second from a share of fourth and earn a spot in the championship flight with Irawan and Tabuena.

The tournament, the first of a two-week ADT swing in the country sponsored by ICTSI and co-organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., is played under winter rules, a usual practice on the ADT since there are dry patches on the par-71 course since Day One.

Choo Tze Huang, the former amateur hotshot from Singapore, also sizzled with seven birdies, including three straight from No. 11, as he matched the tournament-best 66 although he stood four strokes behind at 213.

American Yoon Sejun matched par 71 for sixth at 214, Thai Poosit Supupramai shot a 60 for a 215 while Jun Bernis fired the day’s other 66 to jump from a share of 40th to joint eighth at 216 in a tie with Tony Lascuña, who carded a 70, and Elmer Salvador, who rallied with a 67.

Lascuña and Salvador led the local aces’ three-leg ADT sweep here last year but were too far behind to contend for the top $10,500 purse in the event also serving as the third leg of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.

Ferdie Aunzo, who showed up the crack international field with an even 71 Wednesday, blew it all with four bogeys to close out his round, limping with a 76 and tumbling to joint 11th at 217 with Clyde Mondilla, who shot a 69, and Thai Panuwat Muenlek, who made a second 71 while Rufino Bayron, who scored his maiden win at ADT Orchard last year, made another 71 for a 218.

Angelo Que, who fought back with a 68 midway through, shot 10 shots poorer, his 78 pulling him down to joint 30th at 223.

Irawan, who hobbled with an opening 73 but rebound with a 69 Thursday, cashed in on good form in the early going that saw him gun down birdies on Nos. 2, 5 and 6. He dropped a shot on the ninth but made three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 11 to wrest control.

He slowed down with a double-bogey on the 16th but quickly rebounded with a birdie on the next to build a three-shot cushion against Shin, Tabuena and Munson.

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