CAVINTI, Laguna - Chanelle Avaricio scored a 74 then saw Marvi Monsalve fade in the frontnine and Chihiro Ikeda slump in the backside to move closer to completing back-to-back title romps on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
Not even a three-bogey, one-birdie round on another challenging day at the Caliraya Springs Golf Club could stymie's Avaricio's charge to the top at 145 after 36 holes as Monsalve shot herself in the foot with a horrible 85 after a day's best 69 on Tuesday and Ikeda blowing a three-under card on the way to a 73.
Tight battle for top prize
But Ikeda lay just a stroke off Avaricio at 146, which Daniella Uy matched with a gutsy 72, setting the stage for a three-way battle for top honors in the P750,000 championship sponsored by ICTSI.
Joenard Rates endured the blustery conditions to match his opening round 68 and catch an equally steady Zanieboy Gialon halfway through the men's tournament.
Staying out of trouble on a course where dangers practically lurk in every corner, Rates put himself in a share of the lead at 136 and closer to another crack at a Philippine Golf Tour title.
Gialon also put in a bogey-free 69 as the duo continued to flash top form on an Arnold Palmer-designed course spruced up to championship condition for its initial hosting of a PGT event.
Harmie Constantino made a 75 for fourth at 151 but stood six shots off Avaricio, who humbled Princess Superal in sudden death to snare the ICTSI Hallow Ridge crown two weeks ago.
Now, the comely former Alabama State U mainstay, who nailed her breakthrough win at Riviera-Couples last November, is 18 holes away from a third championship.
Dutch Guido Van der Valk scorched the frontside on his way out with a fiery 31 to likewise churn out a four-under card. But he stood four strokes off the joint leaders at 140 in a tie with Mondilla.
Mondilla, the 2019 Philippine Open champion at The Country Club who prevailed in a five-player playoff at Pradera Verde in 2020 before the pandemic halted play in all sports, yielded to Gialon for the second straight day with a two-birdie, one bogey round.
But he remained in the hunt and upbeat of his chances for another title shot after losing to Miguel Tabuena at ICTSI Luisita Championship last month.
A slew of aces also turned in under-par rounds under erratic weather conditions with former Masters titlist Jerson Balasabas and multi-titled Tony Lascuna pooling 141s after a 68 and 70, respectively.
Rupert Zaragosa also produced an unblemished 69 to join Albin Engino, who carded a 71, at 142 but the rest failed to wage a strong charge that would put them in the hunt heading to the last 36 holes of the P2 million championship put up by ICTSI.
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