JUVIC Pagunsan kept his bogey-free run, firing a 62 to jump from joint 24th to the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Aboitiz Invitational on Thursday at Manila Southwoods in Cavite.
The smooth-swinging Pagunsan came through with near-flawless driving and impeccable iron shots that set up birdies from close range for an 11-under 131 total.
That was one stroke better than Thailand’s Pijit Petchkasem, who started the day tied with six others for the lead and came up with a second straight bogey-free 66.
Zanieboy Gialon took advantage of an early start and shot a 63 to share third place with Angelo Que, who bucked shaky putting at the back to turn in a bogey-less 67 for 133.
Erstwhile co-leader Janne Kaske of Finland rallied with four birdies at the front to save a 68 for solo fifth at 134, while Australia’s Paul Donahoo and Japan’s Masaru Takahashi lay a shot farther back at 135 after firing 66 and 69, respectively.
Malaysian Arie Irawat, Singapore’s Eugene Sim and Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski, who also opened with 66s, slowed down with similar 70s and dropped to joint eighth at 136 with Ferdie Aunzo and Indian Himmat Rai, who carded identical 67s, Thai Nirun Sae-ueng, who made a 69, and Aussie Jake Stirling, who shot another 68.
Forty others made the cut at 142, with Philippine Golf Tour money list leader Miguel Tabuena barely pulling through with another 71 along with 10 others in the US$100,000 event sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures.
Asian Development Tour leader Hsieh Chi-hsien of Taiwan missed the cut by one, firing a 69 for a 143 total.
“I was actually hitting it really well since yesterday (first round). And I focused on hitting the greens and fairways,” said the 37-year-old Pagunsan.
“My putting was great today,” added Pagunsan, who needed just 24 putts.
Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner, remained upbeat of his chances of bagging his first ADT win and the top prize of $17,500 (around P800,000).
“I missed five birdie chances but it really happens,” said Que. “The nice thing about my poor putting is that I didn’t stray too far from the leader.”
Jay Bayron shot a 70 to join a group at 137 including Australia’s Mark Leich, Sejun Yoo of the US and Clyde Mondilla, who also carded 70s, Joenard Rates and Robert Pactolerin, who shot identical 69s.
Anthony Fernando shot a 71 and was in joint 21st with Greg Moss of the US, who made a 66, and Korean Lee Gyeongjun and Taiwanese Tommy Mou, who both had 68s in the event co-organized by Asian Development Tour and Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.