LIPA City, Batangas – Clyde Mondilla recalled the fierce form that netted him back-to-back victories at Eastridge and Calatagan, putting in an eagle-spiked seven-under par 65 and moving from five shots down to one up in the third round of the ICTSI Classic on Friday.
A crisp, solid drive in the 331-yard No. 7 of Mt. Lobo that rested just a club-length of the cup for eagle highlighted the 23-year-old Mondilla’s 32-33 card, giving him a 54-hole aggregate of 206 and a one-stroke lead over erstwhile leader Orlan Sumcad.
Sumcad stayed on track for a breakthrough win despite dropping to second at 207 after a 71.
Marvin Dumandan also remained within striking distance at 208 after a 70 and Jay Bayron kept his bid for a third straight championship alive despite a second straight 71 as he stood at solo fourth at 209 heading to the last 18 holes of the P2 million event sponsored by ICTSI.
“I just felt I could go low today so I attacked the greens. I was just confident on my shots,” said Mondilla, the rising Del Monte star out to atone for his playoff setback to Bayron last week at ICTSI Riviera Classic.
Sumcad, who took charge halfway through with a 66 Thursday, birdied the drivable No. 7 then added two birdies linking both nines to stay in the lead but failed to hang on at the finish, bogeying Nos. 16 and 18.
“Despite falling off the lead, I’m still confident of my chances. But I’ll just play and try to enjoy the game tomorrow (today) and hope my putting clicks,” said Sumcad, a many-time contender but never a winner on the tour backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.
Like the top two players, Dumandan, out to break out of a long title spell, also expressed confidence of his chancesas he joins Mondilla and Sumcad in a group of power-hitters in today’s championship flight.
“It will be a question of accuracy (on driving) and will boil down to who putts well,” said Dumandan, who actually turned in a bogey-free 35-35 card marred by four missed birdie putts inside seven feet.
But if there’s one player the leading troika should watch out for in a flight behind them, it is Bayron, who blew a three-under card after 11 holes with a second straight double-bogey on the tough par-4 No. 12. He also muffed a couple of birdie opportunities coming home but remained upbeat of his bid for a third straight championship.