Silang, Cavite—Juvic Pagunsan limped in severe conditions at the finish, falling to joint lead instead with uncle Rey, one ahead of three foreign aces in another topsy-turvy round halfway through the ICTSI Riviera Golf Challenge here yesterday.
The elder Pagunsan actually wavered first in one of the early flights, blowing a two-under card after eight holes with three bogeys for a 72 while Juvic also squandered an eagle-spiked 33 start at the back with three bogeys in the last eight for a second straight 71 as they settled for identical 142s.
“It’s tough out there with the wind blowing from all directions,” said Juvic, who sparked hopes of a solid stint by the most fancied player in the fold with a spectacular eagle putt from eight feet on the par-5 10th off a solid second utility shot from 240 yards.
He birdied the 18th from 10 feet but blew everything with three bogeys at the front.
“We’re up against three factors here – the heat, the wind and the course,” said Asia’s former No. 1.
Dutch Guido Van der Valk closed out with a gutsy par-game at the front to likewise match par 71 at the wind-raked Langer layout and tied Lexus Keoninh of the US, who birdied the sixth for a 72, at 143 while Aussie Damien Jordan also stumbled at the finish but save a 70 for joint fifth with Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia, who turned in another 72, at 144.
With majority of the rest also floundering in hot, blustery conditions and unreceptive greens that saw defending champion and reigning Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit champion Jobim Carlos and former OOM winner Clyde Mondilla miss the cut, at least seven others stood just a stroke or two behind while eight more stayed within striking distance in what promises to be a wild final 36 holes in the $100,000 event serving as the penultimate leg of the 10-stage second season of the PGT Asia put up by ICTSI.
Sutijet Kooratanapisan shot the tournament-best 69 built around a backside 33 but marred by two bogeys in the last six holes at the front as the Thai ace bounced back from a woeful 76 to tie Englishman George Twyman, carding a 72, at 145.
Spain’s Salvador Paya Vila bogeyed the last two holes at the front for a 72 as he slipped to joint ninth with Angelo Que (73), Pastor Marcos, also of Spain, (74), Korean Hwang Myung Chal (74) and Ira Alido (75).
Jhonnel Ababa, who matched Rey Pagunsan’s opening 70, typified the big guns’ struggle as he groped for form and skied to a birdie-less 42 backside start. He did salvage a 35 at the front but his 77 dropped him to a share of 14th at 147 with Rico Depilo (73), Finland’s Teemu Putkonen (73), Nilo Salahog (73), Reymon Jaraula (75), and Tony Lascuña and Elmer Salvador, who both hobbled with 76s.
Fifty three players survived the cut pegged at a high 10-over 152 with Michael Bibat (78), Mhark Fernando (77), Keanu Jahns (77) and Thai Namchok Tantipokhakul (76) barely making it through.
But Carlos failed to make the grade with a 77 and a 155, the same outputs put in by Mondilla, who skied to an 80, along with American Brett Munson (77), PGT leg winner Nicolas Paez, also of the US, (81) and Thais Puk Pradittan and Tawan Phongphun, who made 75 and 77, respectively.
Such is the test posed by the dreaded layout with the last 36 holes of the event, backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Empire Golf and Sports and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc., expected to be a survival of the fittest.”‹