CANLUBANG, Laguna – Tiny Rupert Zaragosa cracked par for the second straight day, shooting a five-under-par 67 at the South Course on Thursday for a three-shot lead over two Korean expats heading into the final round of the 14th Canlubang-Petron Amateur Open.
The reigning men’s and boy’s national champion mixed six birdies against a lone bogey on the up-and-down, well-manicured layout south of Manila for a 36-hole 137 aggregate in the event that also serves as qualifier for the Philippine Match Play championship next week.
Park Min Ung and Jung Tea Yang, playing out of The Riviera in Cavite, assembled a 66 and 71, respectively, for 140s with former match play champion John Kier Abdon and Callaway Junior World titlist Kristoffer Arevalo lurking another three shots behind.
Abdon, who won his national match play title at the expense of Zaragosa two years ago, fired a 71, while Arevalo, the reigning 15-17 Junior World champ, signed for a 70 as both have 143s.
Only the top 16 men and the top eight women will advance to the PH Am Match Play of the National Golf Association of the Philippines which the MVP Sports Foundation will present on Monday, also at Canlubang.
Gabriel Manotoc lost steam in the second round with a 74 for 146, tied with Cebu’s Gen Nagai, who signed for a 71 even as Daniella Uy opened up with a 68, also at the South course, for a four-stroke lead over Bernice Olivares-Ilas in women’s play.
Harmie Constantino fired a 74 with Riviera’s Seo Yon Kwon shooting a 75 and Samantha Martinez firing a 75 like Hwang Ming Jeon of Korea.
Zaragosa has won numerous national titles but has never won the Cangolf Open, one of the most prestigious events in the land which the likes of Juvic Pagunsan won in the past.