FORMER Philippine Open champion of Canada Rick Gibson survived a roller-coaster day at the wind-swept Aoki course at Eagle Ridge and salvaged a second straight even par 72 to seize a two-stroke lead over Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski midway through the 2014 ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Qualifying School for foreign players in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
One down behind Kokocinski and Japan’s Ryoma Miki at the start of the round, the Manila-based Gibson reeled farther back with a bogey on No. 1 but birdied No. 4 and made three more birdies against the same number of bogeys for nines of 37-35.
Gibson, winner of the 2002 Philippine Open at Wack Wack and now coach of teen pro Miguel Tabuena, has a 144 total. Kokocinski who fumbled with four bogeys against a birdie for a 75 and a 146 aggregate.
American Eric Mina scored a 75 for a 147 total, while Miki carded a 77 and dropped to fourth at 148.
No one broke par from among the aspirants chasing the 20 berths for this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, with Sweden’s CJ Stjarnfalt scoring a 76 for 150.
Australia’s Mark Varela hit three birdies but made six bogeys for a 75 to lead a group at 151, including Norman de la Peña of the US (79), and Kim Chang Hoi of Korea (76).
Japanese Yuto Katsuragawa carded a 77 for a 152 total for ninth place.
Koreans Cho Byung Kyu and Cho Phil Kyu were in joint 10th at 154 after shooting 77s.
Nam Ji Soo, also of Korea, sat at No. 20 with a 163 total in the 72-hole eliminations conducted by the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
The top 20 players after four rounds will join the 40 other qualifiers in last month’s local Q-School and the 40 Tour regulars in this year’s ICTSI PGT set to fire off in March.