CARMONA, Cavite – American John Michael O’Toole cooled down after a hot 61 but his three-under 68 proved enough to give him the lead as the erstwhile frontrunners tumbled in the topsy-turvy third round of the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship ADT at the Legends course on Friday.
O’Toole birdied the last two holes at the completion of his weather-delayed second round to join fellow American John Jackson, Filipino Mhark Fernando and Thai Pijit Petchkasem in second behind Malaysian Gavin Green.
the winner of ADT’s PGM Clearwater Masters in Malaysian last February took charge at 13-under 200 as Jackson carded a 72 and dropped to joint ninth at 204 and Fernando fumbled with a 73 and fell to a share of 12th at 205.
Petchkasem did cling to joint second with a gutsy 69 for a 201, the same output as compatriot Suradit Yongcharoenchai who gunned down four birdies at the back for a 66 as the Thais stood just a shot behind the new leader, who rammed in five birdies against two bogeys to wrest control.
But while Fernando failed to sustain a bogey-free stint after 45 holes and dropped out of the Top 10, rookie pro Jobim Carlos picked up the cudgels for the local bets with a five-under 66 to move up to solo fourth at 202.
“I’m happy with the way I’ve been playing after coach Carito (Villaroman) made some adjustments on my swing after I missed the cut at Luisita,” said Carlos, who shot a 67 and 69 in the first two rounds but only got into the mix with a 33 start. “But I have to be consistent, especially with my chipping and putting, to stay in the contention.”
Just two off the pace, Carlos, one of the best players to come out of the amateur ranks, is very much in the thick of things like Keanu Jahns, who rattled off six birdies at the front before slowing down with a bogey-birdie stint at the back.
But his 65 put Jahns in joint fifth at 203 with Poom Saksansin and Donlaphatchai Niyomchon of Thailand, who shot 66 and 67, respectively, and Green, who fended off his pursuers’ attack with a solid 32 at the front but fell back with a closing 40 marred by a double bogey and three bogeys for a 72.
That guarantees a wide, open battle for the top $10,500 purse in the $60,000 event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. with just three strokes separating eight players, three just four back and five more five shots behind, strokes that could be gained or lost at any given time on the bunker-laden layout.
Fernando did just that on the par-4 14th when he dumped his drive into the bunker, hit a wayward shot into the hazard, knocked in his fourth shot into the greenside bunker, reached the green in 5 and two-putted for 7, ending an impressive bogey-free run after 45 holes.
So stung was the former national champion that he dropped two more strokes on Nos 16 and 18 and signed for a 40 and a 73 and slipped to joint 12th with Thai Thammanoon Sriroj and compatriot Mars Pucay, who both shot 66s, and Japanese Kei Takahashi, who shot the day’s best 64, and Taichi Nabetani, who matched par 71.
Jhonnel Ababa also fired a 66 to tie Zanieboy Gialon, who had a 70, and Thai Natthapong Niyomchon, who carded a 69, at 206, while Miguel Tabuena also failed to score a follow up to his second round 66, shooting a 69 for a 207.
Tony Lascuna finished his second round with a 68 but could only churn out a third round 69 and stood way behind at 208 with 18 holes left in the event, the first of two Asian Development Tour legs backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade and Champion.