CANLUBANG, Laguna – Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que came through with identical even-par 70s to remain tied for the lead as erstwhile co-leader Frankie Minoza fumbled with a 73 halfway through the rich The Country Club Invitational at the TCC courseon Friday.
Tabuena, hampered by the early morning gusts, recovered from a faulty start with a three-birdie binge from Nos. 11 to 14, missing a shot at the solo lead with a three-putt bogey on the 17th. He closed out with a 33 to salvage that 70 for a 138.
Que, chasing a record fourth crown in the P5 million event, matched that output two flights later, bucking a double-bogey mishap on No. 8 and a bogey on No. 3 with three birdies to stay on top for the second straight day.
With all but one of the rest of the starting 36-player field groping for form in another challenging day, Tabuena and Que opened a two-stroke lead over Rufino Bayron and Cassius Casas heading to the weekend play of the event when condition is expected to get harsher.
Casas, the inaugural champion of the annual event put up by ICTSI chair and CEO Ricky Razon in honor of his father ICTSI founder Enrique 'Don Pocholo' Razon Sr., turned in the day’s best score of two-under 68 to put himself in strong contention for the record P1.5 million purse.
The title race remains wide open with Jay Bayron and defending champion Juvic Pagunsan carding similar 72s to join Minoza at 141 and Rey Pagunsan shooting a second 71 for solo eighth at 142, four strokes adrift.
Carl Santos-Ocampo struggled with a 73 and slid to solo ninth at 143 while Elmer Salvador and Clyde Mondilla also hobbled with a pair of 73s for 144.