CARMONA, Cavite – Malaysian Gavin Green birdied the final hole to fire a six-under 65 and got past Mhark Fernando, American John Jackson and Thai Pijit Petchkasem in a topsy turvy second round of the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship ADT at the Legends course here Thursday.
Gavin’s final hole-birdie capped his 33-32 card in gathering dusk and shoved him to the lead of the elite field at 131, one ahead of Fernando, who kept his bogey-free run with a 67, Jackson, who sizzled with a 64, and Petchkasem, who carded a second 66, for 132s.
Fernando slowed down a bit despite an early start after firing a six-under-par 65 in tough conditions late Wednesday but remained on target all day, hitting four birdies from close range to stay in contention.
Petchkasem joined the duo at second with a solid 66 in one of the late flights before play was suspended due to darkness with 11 flights to finish play early Friday.
American John Michael O’Toole bounced back from an even par first round with eight birdies with three more holes to play.
Fernando, the former national champion seeking to snap a long title spell, also emerged the lone Filipino in the Top 10 as the rest of the local bets failed to keep up with the foreign aces’ torrid shooting.
Miguel Tabuena did fight back with a 66 after a so-so 72 but the reigning Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit champion remained six strokes behind at 138 at joint 16th while Tony Lascuña, who could only match par 71 in the first round, tried to make a run at the back with three birdies when play was stopped.
But Fernando proved he’s up to the task, churning out a flawless round for the second straight day in a surprising rebound from a missed cut at the ICTSI Luisita Championship two weeks ago and a mediocre joint 22nd finish at Anvaya Cove Invitational last February.
Fernando, however, braces for a tougher challenge in the final 36 holes, starting with today’s pivotal round as they jockey for position for the top $10,500 purse in the $60,000 championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and co-sanctioned by the ADT and PGT.
In joint 14th with an opening 68, Jackson worked his way up after a birdie-bogey stint from No. 11, rattling off three straight birdies from No. 13 then closed out with the four-birdie binge at the front to fire the first of two seven-under cards at the bunker-riddled layout.
Petchkasem birdied the last two holes to cap his own version of a bogey-less round, a second straight 66.
Koh produced the other 64 in another day of low scoring, ramming in eight birdies to negate a lone bogey on the par-3 16 to move to solo third at 134 while Thais Pannakorn Uthaipas and Suradit Yongcharoenchai pooled identical 135s after a 69 and 68, respectively.
Zanieboy Gialon totes a two-under card after six holes for a running six-under total and Mars Pucay also hit two birdies after six holes for a five-under aggregate as they poise to join Fernando in the hunt heading to the last 36 holes of the first of two Asian Development Tour events backed by Custom Clubmakers, Adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade and Champion.
The only other local bet tipped to move up the ranking is rookie pro Jobim Carlos, who opened with a 67 and stayed even par after six holes at the back as brothers Rufino and Jay Bayron finished their round with 69 and 70, respectively, for 140.