MICHAEL Bibat stayed in control despite a late double-bogey, carding a five-under 67 in wet conditions for a one-stroke lead over Miguel Tabuena after the second round of the ICTSI Rancho Palos Verdes Classic on Thursday in Davao.
Bibat hit a pitch-in birdie off the fringe on No. 16 after a double-bogey on No. 15 where he drove out of bounds, retaining the top spot with a 13-under 131 total.
“It’s still a long way to go and anything can still happen,” said Bibat. “But the good thing is I’m in the thick of things.”
Tabuena pressed his title bid with a second straight 66 highlighted by eagle on the par-5 No. 8 for a 132 total.
Elmer Salvador, meanwhile, bolstered his drive for back-to-back wins by firing a 64 spiked by an eagle on the par-5 No. 15 for a 133 aggregate.
Ferdie Aunzo, just one shot behind Bibat at the start of the second round of the P1.5 million championship carded a 71 for a 136 total.
Clyde Mondilla stood a shot farther back at 137 after a 68.
Tony Lascuña, still in the hunt for the elusive first win this year, failed to sustain a hot start of three birdies in the first four holes at the back, missing a couple of birdie chances and trading two birdies against the same number of bogeys for a 69 and a 139.
Others at five-under par were Korea’s Gyuha Park, who also shot a 68, and Zanieboy Gialon, who carded a 70.
Long-hitting Orlan Sumcad turned in a 71 for a 140 and Japanese Yuta Sudo rallied with a 69 for a 141.
Bibat hit four birdies at the front then hit four more in the last nine holes for nines of 33-34. He stumbled with his first bogey after 26 holes on No. 9 and dropped two strokes on the par-5 15th on an errant drive and a lip-out from five feet.
Tabuena came out of a 30-minute rain delay with back-to-back pars then birdied No. 7 before splitting the 8th fairway and hacking a solid 7-iron second shot to within a putter’s length for eagle and another six-under card for a shot at a second victory this year in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI and backed by Nike Golf, Srixon, Callaway, Empire Golf, TaylorMade and Custom Clubmakers.