Abe Rosal toughened up at the backside and saved a 36 for a 75 as he stormed to a two-stroke lead over erstwhile co-leader Rolly Viray and a rallying William Houng-Lee of New Zealand in the second round of the Philippine Seniors and Mid-Amateur Open Championship at Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas yesterday.
Rosal actually yielded the lead to Viray with a 39 start and a bogey on the 10th but the 2017 champion fought back with a birdie on the par-5 14th and parred the rest to wrest control at 151 heading to the final 18 holes of the annual event for the country’s leading golfing seniors organized by National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Viray, who matched Rosal’s opening 76, surged ahead by two with a 38 and a par on No. 10 but bogeyed three of the last eight and hobbled with a 77, dropping to second at 153 in a tie with Houng-Lee, who mixed two birdies with the same number of bogeys to put in the tournament-best 72.
Defending champion Abe Avena, Tommy Manotoc and Zaldy Villa all shot 80s as they shared fourth place at 158 with Singapore’s John Howard McKean and Mari Hechanova assembled identical 159s after an 80 and 82, respectively.
The rest stood too far behind to pose a threat in the final round with Damasus Wong at 160 after a 79 and Alan Alegre limping with an 83 for a 161, 10 strokes off the pace.
Sharing the spotlight is Kirby Lachica, who carded a 74 to post a one-shot lead over Oliver Gan (75) at the start of the Mid-Amateur Open division of the event sponsored by MVP Sports Foundation, Cignal and Metro Pacific and held under the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
Martin Guiang turned in a 76 while August Cruz and Gerald Katigbak each shot a 77 in what looms to be a fierce duel for top honors in the event while Vince Fragante took the Mid-Am Division II lead with an 84, one stroke ahead of Paul Ignacio with Christopher Piala another stroke back at 86.