ROBERT Pactolerin shot an eagle on the closing hole for a 68 on Thursday and a one-stroke lead over Joenard Rates, who also had an eagle in a round of 70, and two others halfway through the P1.5 million ICTSI Classic at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa, Batangas.
The former Philippine Open champion shot back-to-back bogeys on his homeward nine but recovered three straight birdies from No. 16 then finished with an eagle on the par-5 ninth.
Looking to finally score a win after disappointing finishes including four missed cuts in the first nine legs of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, Pactolerin stood at 137 for a slim lead over Rates.
“It just came together – driving, short game and putting,” said Pactolerin.
“I always believe that if my irons and putting go together, I can still be able to contend against the young guns,” said the veteran shotmaker who last tasted victory in 2012 in Bacolod.
Lee Seongki birdied two of the last five holes for a 70 to add to his opening 68, while Woo Seong Bin birdied the last three holes for a 68 that forged a three-way tie for second.
First day leader Arnold Villacencio stumbled with a 73 and stood two shots off the pace along with Zanieboy Gialon, who shot a 70, Rolando Marabe, who made a 71, and Tony Lascuña, who carded a 70.
Villacencio bogeyed No. 3 and dropped two strokes on the next, but he birdied two of the last 10 holes to stay in the hunt for the top prize of P270,000 in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Chris Mamaril shot a 73 for 10th place at 140, while brothers Jay and Rufino Bayron fired a 70 and 72, respectively, to share 11th place at 141 with Artemio Murakami, who also matched par 72.
Juvic Pagunsan had five birdies against five bogeys for a 72 and a 143 total, six strokes off the pace.
Michael Bibat and Albin Engino shot 70s to stand at 142 along with Jhonnel Ababa (75), Anthony Fernando (73), Miguel Ochoa (71), Elmer Salvador (73) and Korea’s Anthony Kim (73).
With Pagunsan in 21st spot are Rico Depilo (71), Benjie Magada (72), and Japan’s Yuta Sudo (70).
Luisita leg winner Charles Hong missed the cut with a 150 after a 72.