TARLAC – Justin Quiban outgunned Clyde Mondilla in a frontside duel then bounced back from a bogey on No. 12 with three birdies to card a 67 and storm ahead by five in the third round of the CAT (Central Azucarera de Tarlac) Open at the Luisita Golf and Country Club.
Toughened by Top 6 finishes at Southwoods and Wack Wack the last four weeks, Quiban, 21, showed more confidence in his shots and iron play as he moved 18 holes away from nailing a breakthrough victory with a 13-under 203.
“I feel pretty solid – with my irons doing the most damage which enabled me to attack the pins with precision,” said Quiban, who hit all but one fairway and missed just two greens in hot conditions.
Mondilla pulled within two following back-to-back birdies from No. 11 but failed to match Quiban’s strong finishing kick of three birdies in the last six holes. He settled for a 71 and fell behind by five at 208.
Still, the 23-year-old winner of four Philippine Golf Tour legs this year, remained confident of his chances for a follow-up to his PGT Asia victory at Riviera last September.
But Mondilla stressed the need to come up with a strong start in today’s final round.
“It can still be done. I just need to have a good start tomorrow (today),” said Mondilla.
Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia, leaning on a hot start of four birdies in the first eight holes, fired a second straight 69 to tie Joenard Rates at third 209 while Swede Oskar Arvidsson (67), Elmer Salvador (70) and Jhonnel Ababa (71) lay a shot farther back at 210.
Rates, tied with Mondilla halfway through the $100,000 fifth leg of the PGT Asia put up by ICTSI, also failed to match Quiban’s hot form in the featured flight, although he put up a late charge to save a 34 and a 72.