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    Mondilla catches Kim with late birdie as TCC battle goes down to the wire

    Apr 25, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    STA. ROSA, Laguna – Clyde Mondilla holed out with a birdie then watched Kim Joo Hyung finish with a bogey for a big two-shot swing that put the Filipino ace back in joint lead with the young Korean after the third round of the P5 million The Country Club Invitational.

    Kim, 16, bucked an opening hole fumble with a cluster of birdies to stun Mondilla and three-time champion Angelo Que with a 33 start but Mondilla rallied from three down with a birdie on No. 14 and a 10-footer at the last for a 70.

    Kim, who became the youngest winner on the Philippine Golf Tour at Pueblo De Oro last year, failed to ride the pressure on the last hole, hitting it short on his approach shot for a bogey and a 70 for an even 216 through 54 holes.

    That set up a veritable two-man duel for the top P1.5 million purse in this kickoff leg of the PGT’s milestone 10th season.

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    “I played good, my irons, short game and putting were okay,” said Mondilla, seeking to make it two in row at the Tom Weiskoph-designed layout after besting a crack international field in the Solaire Philippine Open three weeks ago.

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    The Del Monte ace hit three birdies inside 15 feet against a lone bogey, missing eagle chances on the two par-5s. He hit a solid 3-iron second shot from 195 yards on No. 8 but misread a 10-footer then hacked a 3-wood second shot from 280 yards to within 15 feet on No. 14.

    Keanu Jahns turned in a rare backside 32 to save a 71 as he moved to solo third though four strokes behind the joint leaders at 220 for a spot in the championship flight.

    Que, seeking a record fourth crown, turned in an impressive 35 at the front but bogeyed three of the last six holes, including the last for a 74 and a 222, now six shots behind.

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    Aussie Tim Stewart also charged back with a closing 34 to salvage a 73 for solo fifth at 224 while Juvic Pagunsan, the only other three-time winner of this event, continued to struggle, hobbling with a birdie-less 76 for joint sixth with first-round leader Jerson Balasabas, who limped home with a 78 for 226.

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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