TARLAC – Clyde Mondilla outgunned Charles Hong and Keanu Jahns in a backside shootout and came away with a bogey-free five-under 67 to seize a one-stroke lead in the third round of the P2 million ICTSI Luisita Championship at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here Friday.
Kept at bay by the gutsy two-day leader Jahns and second-running Hong despite a two-birdie feat at the frontside, Mondilla rattled off three more birdies in the last nine holes then watched Jahns crack under pressure in the closing holes to overcome a two-shot deficit and storm ahead with a 14-under 202 aggregate.
The soft-spoken former national champion thus moved 18 holes away from nailing his second victory after scoring a breakthrough at ICTSI Canlubang where he nipped veteran Cassius Casas in a final round duel late last year.
Hong, one behind Jahns at the halfway mark of the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI, fell one birdie short of Mondilla’s backside feat and settled for a 69 as the two-time ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour leg winner stayed at second at 203 in a tie with Jahns.
Jahns looked headed for another impressive round with a four-under card after 12 holes until he stumbled with back-to-back bogeys from No. 16 and dropped to joint second with a 70.
Still, the troika will slug it out in today’s final round in a continuation of their spirited third round duel for the top P360,000 purse tipped to go up the 72nd hole.
Jhonnel Ababa, who missed the cut by one at ICTSI Anvaya last week, matched Mondilla’s three-birdie binge at the back in the other flight and turned in a 68 but stood three shots off Mondilla at 205.
Title-hungry and power-hitting Marvin Dumandan gunned down an eagle on No. 5 and knocked down four birdies, preserving a solid round with two scrambling pars to match the tournament-best 66 posted by Mondilla, Hong, Jahns and Albin Engino in the first round of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.