GEN. TRIAS, Cavite – Pro-bound Jobim Carlos and Harmie Constantino came away with scorching rounds in surprisingly calm condition and threatened to blow the field away halfway through the Philippine Amateur (Stroke Play) Open Golf Championship at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club on Wednesday.
Carlos, who needed to pounce on Ira Alido’s late-hole mishap to wrest a one-stroke lead on a 73 in the opener of the 72-hole championship on Tuesday, fired a four-under 68 and took full control of the big international field at 141 for a six-stroke lead over Jang Jun Ha and Alido.
The Korean hit two late birdies to card a 71 while Alido also needed to birdie the par-5 16th to save a 73 for 147s even as Gen Nagai matched par 72 for a 148. Another Korean, Jang Yu Bin, also turned in an even par round for a 149 and a share of fifth with Weiwei Gao, who faltered with a 74.
Despite the absence of the dreaded wind, former champion Rupert Zaragosa continued to struggle, hobbling to a 74 and falling farther behind at 151 heading to the last 36 holes of the country’s premier amateur championship serving as the kickoff leg of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour.
“My putting clicked and the wind was hardly a factor so there was less pressure,” said Carlos, seeking to complete back-to-back title romps in the annual event.
“But I still have to play well in the last two days,” added the former University of San Francisco mainstay who also won last week’s NGAP’s National Doubles with Inigo Raymundo.
Carlos, set to join the pro ranks next month, gunned down six birdies from as far as 30 feet on No. 18 while finishing with two tap-ins on Nos. 9 and 16 and saving pars thrice.
Constantino actually bettered Carlos’ output from the ladies tees, finishing with seven birdies against two bogeys for a 67 that likewise put her six strokes away from Fil-Japanese Yuka Saso at 140.
“It’s a lot easier (to score) today (yesterday) without the wind. I hit better iron shots and putted well,” said Constantino, who strung up three straight birdies from No. 4, barely missing an eagle-putt from 15 feet on No. 5.