FORMER amateur hotshot Peter Villaber shot a three-under 67 to force a three-way tie for the lead at 136 with Angelo Que and overnight leader Orlan Sumcad after the second round of the Iloilo Golf Challenge in Sta. Barbara on Thursday.
Villaber, chasing his first pro win in two years, birdied Nos. 6 and 7 then watched Sumcad and Que fumble in their last four holes to create a logjam at the top entering the final round of the 54-hole P1 million tournament.
Que, winner at Malarayat last year, had a chance to grab the solo lead but bogeyed Nos. 7 and 9 for a 69 in the seventh leg of the 16-stage circuit.
Despite slowing down with an even par 70 after a sizzling 64, Sumcad also lined himself up for a first title in 12 years, his second round bid ruined by a missed-green bogey on No. 8. He sank a long birdie putt on the last hole to force a tie at four-under overall.
Mars Pucay, one of the very few talented players never to win on the Philippine Golf Tour, actually looked set to grab the lead after moving to four-under with three holes to go.
But he bogeyed the tough par-4 eighth and finished with a 67 for a 137 total to tie little-known Rene Menor, who had a four-under 66.
Two-leg winner Miguel Tabuena also bounced back into contention with a 68, the same scores posted by Jay Bayron and Mhark Fernando, while Clyde Mondilla matched par 70 to create a four-way tie for sixth at 138.
Defending champion Jhonnel Ababa also stayed in the hunt with a 70 for a 139, which was matched by Order of Merit leader and two-leg winner Tony Lascuna and Sherwood Hills champion Elmer Salvador, who both fired 67s. They were joined at 139 by Ferdie Aunzo, who had a 68, and Rey Pagunsan, who made a 70.
Juvic Pagunsan, needing a low round to turn around a fumbling start, did just that, firing an eagle-spiked 65 to get into the mix at 141, five strokes off the pace.
After three straight pars, Pagunsan eagled the par-5 No. 4 then capped a four-under run over a three-hole stretch with back-to-back birdies. He dropped a stroke on the seventh for the second straight day but gunned down two more birdies at the back for a 33-32 card.