AUSSIE Marcus Both capped a backside 31 by holing out from a greenside bunker at the last on Friday to put together a bogey-free six-under par 66 and open a two-shot lead in the US$300,000 ICTSI Philippine Open at Wack Wack's East course.
The two-time winner on the Asian Tour stood at eight-under at the halfway point - the winning score of Mardan Madat the last time the Open was held here in 2012 - and grabbed the lead by his lonesome when Chan Kim finished bogey-bogey in a 72.
Kim, the American-Korean joint first-day leader with Bangladesh's Siddikur after an opening 66, finished with 138 while Siddikur was another stroke back after a 73 in this Asian Tour-sanctioned event presented by the MVP Sports Foundation and PLDT.
“It is a round of golf which you hope to play,” Both, a Melbourne native, said. “I didn’t get into trouble all day and kept the ball in play. When I did miss some greens, I got them all up-and-down.”
Amateur Rupert Zaragosa and the unheralded Miguel Ochoa emerged as the best performers among the local bets going to the weekend play, standing six shots off the pace at 142 in the company of three others.
Zaragosa fired a second straight 71 while Ochoa, a second-year pro, shot a 69.
Rolando Marabe, who carried home hopes in Day One after a 69, faded badly on a day when play was stopped for around an hour in mid-afternoon because of the threat of lightning on a sunny day.
He limped home with an 80 marred by two triple bogeys on the frontside and made the cut right on the number at 149.
Two-time champion Frankie Minoza shot a 71 and is at 143 with Jay Bayron, the 2011 runner-up, who matched par. Angelo Que, the 2008 champion, fired a 75 to be at 146 like Jonel Ababa, who shot a 70.
Mamat will not be around for the weekend after shooting a second straight 75.