CLYDE Mondilla fired a bogey-free five-under 67 to move two strokes clear as two-day leader Jessie Balasabas nosedived with a 75 in the third round of the P1.5 million ICTSI Canlubang Golf Invitational on Thursday in Laguna.
Still looking to score his maiden pro title, Mondilla came up with nines of 35-32 for a 10-under 206 total.
“I really wanted to win my first championship after falling short in a playoff here last year,” said Mondilla, referring to his heartbreaking playoff setback to Cassius Casas last year.
Balasabas faltered after going bogey-free in the first two rounds, slipping to joint second at 208 with Arnold Villacencio and Cassius Casas.
He never recovered after bogeying the first hole and dropping two strokes on the par-4 No. 3, settling for two birdies against two bogeys on the back nine.
“I still have a chance. Actually, everybody in the Top 10 can win. Anything can happen here but I need to focus on my driving and putting.”
Villacencio fired an eagle-aided 65, while Casas kept his title-retention bid alive with a second straight 70.
“I’m back in the hunt but I need to focus on my target, which is another seven-under card,” said Villacencio, who hit an eagle on No. 2 and also made seven birdies against two bogeys.
Casas said four or five-under card should be enough to bag the crown and the top prize of P270,000 in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“This is going to be a great final round. I like my chances and anybody can win,” said Casas.
Marvin Dumandan rallied with a 68 but stood four shots off Mondilla at 210 in a tie with Royal Northwoods champion Zanie Boy Gialon, who carded a 70, Sherwood Hills winner Charles Hong, who fired a 71, and erstwhile joint second running Dante Becierra, who matched par 72.
Robert Pactolerin and Japanese amateur Yuto Katsuragaw both shot 69 and tied Jhonnel Ababa, who had a 72, at 211.
Micah Shin had a 69 for a 212 total and Michael Bibat fired a 68 for 213.
Fil-German Keanu Jahns sputtered with a 76 and tumbled from joint second to a share of 14th at 214 in the tournament backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp, KZG and Rudy Project.