NATHAN Park blew a huge lead as he lost his putting touch at the finish, settling for a four-under 68 and a two-stroke edge over Clyde Mondilla after the second round of the ICTSI Philippine Masters at the Villamor Golf Club.
The left-handed Australian went on a birdie spree coming off another rain delay, gunning down four in a five-hole stretch from No. 2. But he squandered a four-shot lead with back-to-back three-putt miscues from No. 7, enabling Mondilla and the rest of the pack to stay within striking distance heading to the final 36 holes of the P2 million event.
“I was fantastic up to the sixth hole at the front. Then my putting deserted me,” rued Park, who sizzled with birdies on Nos. 12, 15 and 16 then bounced back from a bogey-mishap on No. 1 with another four-birdie binge in five holes from the second.
With a seven-under 137, Park led Mondilla, who rallied with a 67 for a 139.
Tony Lascuña, Keanu Jahns and erstwhile leader Jobim Carlos stood a short farther back at 140.
Lascuna shot a 69, Jahns a 70 and Carlos a 72 to stay in the hunt for the P360,000 top prize.
Mondilla, winner at Southwoods last week, hit three birdies in the first eight holes but flubbed four birdie putts inside three feet.
The Del Monte ace, however, rolled in an eagle putt from 50 feet on the par-5 closing hole to finish with a 67 and line himself up for another shot at the championship in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“I missed a number of birdie putts from close range but made a long, long putt for eagle. But that’s golf,” said the 24-year-old Mondilla.
Japan’s Genki Okada made a blistering start at the back to fire a 31 and wrest the lead at seven-under overall but faltered at the front with a 42 marred by four bogeys and a double-bogey with no birdie to show. He wound up with a 73 and dropped to joint 14th with Albin Engino (72) and compatriot Seiji Yanagisawa (73) at 143.
Forty-three players made the cut at 147 with former champion Robert Pactolerin safely making it through with a 145 after a 73 and Cassius Casas, the winner here in 2000, pooling a 146 after a 74.
Among the notables who failed to advance were Dutchman Guido Van der Valk (70-148), former Masters winner Rodrigo Cuello (71-148), Jay Bayron (72-151), and Ferdie Aunzo (78-155).