TORU Nakajima fired three birdies on the homeward nine for a 71, extending his lead to three strokes after the second round of the P2.5 million ICTSI Wack Wack Championship on Thursday at Wack Wack’s East course.
The Japanese shotmaker has a 36-hole aggregate of 140, three strokes better than Elmer Salvador (70) and South Korean Micah Shin (71).
Nakajima, who started the day just one shot clear, began his second round on No. 10 and played steady before bogeys on Nos. 16 and 18.
But he recovered on the next half of his round, hitting birdies on Nos. 1, 3 and 7 while rescuing pars twice.
"I was nervous at the start, the wind is also strong," said Nakajima, who opened with a 69.
"I just hope to sustain this form," said Nakajima, expecting a spirited charge from a host of pursuers in the final 36 holes of the event serving as the final leg of the 15-stage circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Jay Bayron carded a 70 and was in joint fourth at 144 with Michael Bibat, who fired the day’s best round of three-under 69, and Cassius Casas, who fumbled with a double-bogey on the final hole for a 71.
Mhark Fernando sputtered fired a 74 and was in seventh spot with Benjie Magada, who matched par 72.
Mars Pucay, joint second after one round, slipped after carding a 77 for a 147 total.
Ferdie Aunzo, tied for second at the start of the day, fumbled with a birdie-less 89 (159).
Bibat, six down at the start of the round, got to five under through 11 holes but the former Asian Games bronze medalist bogeyed two of the last six holes for a 69.
"I sank eight-foot and four-foot putts for pars on Nos. 4 and 7 when it could have gone really worse," said Bibat, winner at Rancho Palos Verdes who has also recorded five top 10 finishes this year in the series backed by Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, FootJoy, Titleist, Sharp, BMW and Gergia Energy Foods.
"Overall, I played really well considering the demanding conditions,” said Bibat, who spiked his backside blitz with long putts from 20 feet.
"My goal this year is to at least win one leg and make the top 10 at least five times, all of which I've already accomplished. Winning or making the top 10 here would be a bonus," added Bibat.