ERWIN Arcillas took a two-stoke lead in the S$100,000 (P5 million) ICTSI Riviera Classic with a second 68 on Thursday in Silang, Cavite.
The 40-year-old shotmaker is at six-under 136 aggregate.
Australia’s Damien Jordan had a rare two-eagle feat for a 67 and a 138 total for second spot, while Charles Hong bogeyed the 18th and dropped to solo third at 139 after a 71.
While first round leader Michael Bibat had a wobbly finish at Langer course, Arcillas leaned on his irons and hot putter to shoot six birdies, three on each side, to negate his three bogeys.
“My putting was hot and my short game worked perfectly as well,” said Arcilla, who opened his bid with an eight-foot birdie putt on No. 10. He dropped a stroke on the next but hit birdies from short range on Nos. 15 and 16 then added two more on Nos. 2, a difficult 25-foot side-hiller, and a 12-footer on the next.
He reeled back with missed green bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6 but recovered a stroke with a closing birdie to highlight his 34-34 card.
“I’m sure many will be making their charge tomorrow but I’m ready and will try to keep in step with them,” said Arcillas.
Tony Lascuña also made an even par card, joining Japan’s Yuta Sudo, who shot a 69, and American John Michael O’Toole, who carded a 70, at 140, four shots behind.
Bibat flubbed a couple of short putts for par and birdie on Nos. 14 and 15, respectively, then three-putted the last two holes and hobbled with a 75, slipping to joint seventh with Jobim Carlos (70) and Thailand’s Poosit Supupramai (71).
“I just couldn’t putt today. But it’s still a long way to go and I hope to recover in the last two days,” said Bibat, seeking a follow-up to his 2013 breakthrough win at Rancho Palos Verdes.
The long-hitting Jordan opened with an eagle on the par-5 10th, added a birdie on No. 13 but went on a roller-coaster stint with two bogeys against two birdies in the next seven holes. He knocked down a pitch-in eagle on the par-4 No. 6 but failed to close in on Arcillas with a bogey on the par-3 No. 8.
Fifty three players advanced to the final two rounds of the second leg of the region’s newest circuit put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., with Macedonia’s Peter Stojanovski (70), Thai Namchok Tantipokhakul (71), Aussies Simon Viitangkas (73) and Jack Sullivan (73), American Matthew Negri (73), Spain’s Xavi Puig Giner (73), Ferdie Aunzo (74), Keanu Jahns (75), Tim Stewart of Australia (75) and Englishman Matt Killen (76) surviving the cut at 147.