CEBU – Angelo Que shot a flawless five-under 67 to grab a one-stroke lead over a faltering Elmer Salvador, setting up a showdown for the Aboitiz Invitational title in Saturday's final round at the Cebu Country Club.
Que overhauled a four-stroke deficit with a combination of talent and luck in improved weather condition, setting up five birdies chances from close range while coming through with a couple of pars that flightmate Anthony Fernando jestingly described as “not on the menu.”
“Yes, I saved five pars, including two off my 9-iron, which I used instead of a lob wedge since the greens have become firmer,” said Que, who birdied Nos. 3, 6, 7, 14 and 16 in the flight ahead of Salvador to surge ahead at 10-under 206.
Salvador, who strung up impressive 67-68 rounds in wet conditions to seize a two-stroke lead over England’s Ian Keenan through 36 holes, bogeyed two of the last seven holes and yielded the lead to Que heading to the final 18 holes of the US$65,000 event presented by ICTSI.
“I like my chances. The rest are too far behind and I’ve got only one player to contend with,” said Que, referring to Salvador, who settled for a 72 and dropped to 207.
Salvador blamed tired, stiff arms for his struggles particularly around the greens in the event serving as the eighth leg of the Asian Development Tour, a feeder circuit to the Asian Tour.
“It just became stiff after I had it massaged last night (Thursday). I just can’t swing the club the way I used to,” said Salvador in Filipino.
Still, the ace Davaoeno shotmaker is well within reach of the US$11,375 top purse as well as the feat of becoming the first player to retain a crown on the ADT.
Guido Van der Vall will be the third man in the championship flight but the Dutch will have to shoot a pretty low round and hope that Que and Salvador waver to get a shot at the crown. With a 210 after a 69, Van der Valk stood four shots off Que.
Korean teener Park Il Hwan also pooled a 210 after holing out with a birdie off the fringe for a 72 but will be in the company of Tony Lascuna and Carl Santos-Ocampo, who stood at 211 after a 70 and 72, respectively.
Fernando and Keenan also assembled 211s after a 73 and 74, respectively, for the third-to-the-last flight with Jhonnel Ababa, who had a 212 after a 70.
Charles Hong also fired a 70 to join Ababa in ninth place while Australians Michael Moore (70) and Darren Tan (74), Miguel Tabuena (70), England’s Peter Richardson (73) and Jun Bernis (73) were seven strokes adrift at 213.