AIDRIC Chan finally hit his stride and fired a one-under 71, forcing a tie with Sean Ramos in the third round of the Philippine Junior Amateur Open Golf Championships on Thursday at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martires, Cavite.
Chan, the pre-tournament favorite who groped for form with 78 and 75 in the first two days in tough conditions, hit birdie on the par-5 15th then parred the rest to turn in the first under-par card in hot, blustery conditions after 54 holes of the third leg of this year’s PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
Ramos bucked a double-bogey mishap on No. 10 and a bogey on the 13th with three straight birdies from No. 15 as he saved a 72 to match the former’s three-hole aggregate of 224 heading to the final 18 holes of the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Group, Cignal and Metro Pacific.
Halfway leader Paolo Barro cracked under pressure and shot himself in the foot with an 82 to tumble to third at 229, virtually leaving the fight for the crown in the Albatross division (15-18) to Chan and Ramos with Carl Corpus coming through with a 77 for a 230 and Josh Jorge and Paolo Wong scoring 232s after 76 and 79, respectively.
A tight finish also loomed in the girls’ side with Kayla Nocum firing an 80 after sizzling a 69 in the second round of the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines. She hobbled with a 39 after nine holes then dropped two strokes on the par-4 10th and holed out with a triple bogey on the 18th.
Still, her 80 kept her on top at 226, one stroke ahead of Korea’s Kang Da Yun, who birdied the 18th to card a 76 and assume the challenger’s role at 227 as first round leader Junia Gabasa fumbled with an 82 to drop to joint third at 229 with Maria Tee, who shot a 77.
Wiggam Tapdasan all but wrapped up the Ace division (19-and-above) diadem with a 245 after a 79 with Gerrard Park falling 19 shots behind at 264 after an 83.
Korea’s Kim Tae Soo shot a second 78 in three days to pool a 235 and keep a two-stroke lead in the Eagle (12-14) divison over Miguel Ilas and Jet Hernandez, who assembled identical 237s after a pair of 78s while Rianne Malixi matched par 72 for a 224 to remain two shots ahead of a rallying Eagle Ace Superal, who fired a 71 for a 226 with Sam Dizon way behind at 236 after a 77.
Kim Tae Won turned in an 81 to post a six-shot lead over Shinichi Suzuki and Zach Villaroman, who carded similar 87s, in the 36-hole Birdie (11-and-below) category with Celine Abalos grabbing the girls’ lead with an 80, 15 strokes ahead of Stevie Umali.
Meanwhile, listup for the MVPSF Visayas Regional Golf Championship is ongoing with another huge field expected to clash for top honors in the fourth staging of the event on April 8-12 at Cebu Country Club.