Abdon wrests 2-shot lead as leaders tumble

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John Kier Abdon grabbed a two-stroke lead with a gutsy two-under 70 as Rufino Bayron and Rolando Marabe stumbled with over-par scores halfway through the rich ICTSI Tournament Players’ Championship in Las Piñas on Wednesday.

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Abdon netted a second straight under-par card, including five birdies that highlighted his 36-34 that shoved him on top at five-under 139.

Mars Pucay carded a bogey-free 68 and joined Mhark Fernando, shooting a 71, and James Ryan Lam, matching par 72, at second at 141 while ICTSI Cangolf leg winner Clyde Mondilla stayed in hunt for another crown despite a 73 as he pooled a 142 for joint fifth with Elmer Saban, who rallied with a 70.

Title-hungry Ferdie Aunzo shot a second 72 for solo seventh at 144 while Marabe, flawless in the opening round with a 68, never recovered from a double-bogey mishap on No. 4, finishing with two more double-bogeys and two bogeys against three birdies for a five-over 77. He dropped to joint eighth at 145 with Orlan Sumcad (69), Dutch Guido Van der Valk (74), Jun Rates (74) and Korean Gyuha Park (72).

Bayron, who took charge in the first round with a 67 despite a last-hole double-bogey, made a triple-bogey on No. 18 this time and wound up with a 42 and 79, tumbling down from first to a share of 13th at 146. Other two-over par total scorers were Micah Shin (70), Edward Reyes (76), Robert Pactolerin (73), Michael Bibat (73) and Rico Depilo (77).

Abdon did pay the price on his finishing hole on No. 9 where he sliced it and had to play out before holing out with a second straight bogey.

He birdied two of the first four holes at the back where he teed off. He hit an “unlucky” drive on the par-5 No. 14 that kicked left and rolled into a steep bunker and missed an eight-footer for par.

Abdon, who ended up joint 28th at ICTSI Cangolf last month, missed the cut at ICTSI Summit and wound up tied at 32nd at ICTSI Northwoods, birdied the tough par-5 18th, three-putted No. 3 for bogey but birdied Nos. 4 and 6 from close range.

Mars Pucay and Mhark Fernando moved into contention at 141, along with James Ryan Lam, using 3-woods and 5-woods off the mound.

Pucay, out to snap a long title spell in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., parred the first 11 holes, including two scrambling pars on Nos. 1 and 9 then strung up four straight birdies inside five feet from No. 12 before holing out with three pars to turn in a bogey-free 68.

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