JAPANESE player Gen Nagai of Cebu fired a second round one-over-par 71 on Saturday to turn a two-stroke overnight deficit into a two-stroke lead over Nick Aleluya going into the final round of the NGAP’s Visayas Regional Am presented by the MVP Sports Foundation.
Nagai fired nines of 37-34 for a 36-hole 146 aggregate at the tree-lined Binitin layout in Murcia town in Bacolod as Aleluya stumbled with a 74.
The final round practically boils down to a two-man race for the title after Fernando Mondares shot a 74 to stand eight off the pace.
Richard Holt, a retired businessman who started the day just three strokes behind Aleluya, floundered with an 88 and kissed his chances goodbye.
Aleluya, the Binitin caddy who led a tournament for the first time in his career on Friday with an opening 74, actually padded his one-stroke overnight lead to two over Nagai with a steady 36 at the front.
But the 19-year-old, who first picked up a golf club when he was six, finished with three straight bogeys to hand Nagai the lead.
The 16-year-old Nagai, whose family migrated to Cebu when he was three, played the final nine at one-under 34 with a birdie on No. 16 in the tournament that is part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour and backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports.