ABE Avena assembled a level par 72 on Thursday and practically put the NGAP’s Philippine Senior Amateur title in the bag with a 10-stroke lead heading into the final round at Mount Malarayat Golf Club in Lipa City, Batangas.
The 56-year-old Avena, a five-time Mt. Malarayat club champion, had nines of 35-37 card and was at 142 after 36 holes.
Former champion Rolly Viray of Canlubang was at 152 after firing a second round 73 in the event presented by the MVP Sports Foundation as part of the PLDT Group Amateur tour.
Ramontito Garcia, the Cebu Country Club star in the annual Interclub Golf tournament, struggled to an 81 and fell 13 shots behind.
Dave Hernandez, another former winner of the event, improved to a 76 after an opening 80.
Former Asia-Pacific champion Iggy Clavecilla fired an 87 for 163, now 21 strokes off the pace from six behind at the start of the day.
PSC chairman Richie Garcia returned a second straight 82 and also bombed out of the hunt together with Mari Hechanova of Canlubang, who followed up a first round 78 with an 81.
Avena, from San Juan town in Batangas, also won two club championships while a member of Southwoods in the late 1990s.
While the Seniors race has all but been settled, a close fight is still on in the Mid-Am division with Chang Young-hi firing a 73 to see a six-stroke overnight lead trimmed down to four.
Norman Dela Pena returned a 71 for 149, while Ivan Ferreras and Manfred Guangko were both at 157 after carding 76 and 79, respectively, in the 54-hole tournament backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Pancake House, Club Car and Pacsports.