MICHAEL Bibat fired an eagle-aided six-under 66 to take a four-stroke lead over Tony Lascuña after the second round of the P3.5 million ICTSI Tournament Players Championship at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martirez, Cavite.
After shooting a 68 in windy conditions in the opening round, Bibat proved a lot better in calm condition in an early tee-off, highlighting his round with a 40-foot putt for eagle on the par-5 No. 8 for a 10-under 134 total.
“It’s a big advantage starting out early with the wind hardly a factor,” said Bibat, looking for a huge finish after missing the cut last week at Luisita.
“I struggled with my driving last week and I asked Jay (Bayron) to help me check it. He made a little adjustment on my set-up,” added Bibat.
Bogey-free through 36 holes for the first time in a seven-year pro career, the former Asian Games bronze medalist has stressed the need for consistency in the last two rounds to fuel his drive for a follow-up to his breakthrough win at Rancho Palos Verdes in 2013.
“Against this tough field, I need to play as good as my performance in the first two rounds to gain a crack at the crown,” said Bibat.
Tony Lascuña shot a 68 for a 138 total.
Cassius Casas shot a 73 after a 66 for a 139 total and joint third place with Zanieboy Gialon (71), Korea’s Park Jun Hyeok (71), Clyde Mondilla (69), and Elmer Salvador (67).
Jhonnel Ababa carded a 73 for a 140 total and a share of eighth spot with Dutch Guido Van der Valk (66), Orlan Sumcad (67), and Rufino Bayron (72).
Jay Bayron added a 72 to his opening 69 for a 141 aggregate and joint 12th with Luisita Championship winner Charles Hong (71), Arnold Villacencio (71), and Korea’s Woo Seong Bin (72).
Anthony Fernando shot a 70 to tie Korea’s Anthony Kim (71) and Rey Pagunsan (72) at 143.
Defending champion Mars Pucay was at 145 after a 73 in a tie with Paul Echavez, who shot a a 66 in the P3.5 million championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and backed by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Callaway, Srixon, Mizuno, TaylorMade, Nike Golf, Sharp, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Rudy Project, Pacsports, Omnisource, Cleveland Golf, KZG, FootJoy, Silicon, Empire and Great Depot.