Ira Alido blew a three-stroke lead at the front but fought back from two shots down and went 2-up again over a charging Rupert Zaragosa with an eagle-spiked 69 in a topsy-turvy third round of the W Express RVF Cup Amateur Golf Championship at Cangolf’s North course in Canlubang on Thursday.
But while Alido managed to thwart Zaragosa’s challenge and regained the men’s lead, Harmie Constantino tumbled down the women’s leaderboard with a 76 as Korean Hwang Min-jeong fired a 70 and wrested a huge four-stroke margin heading to the final round of the annual championship held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, Cignal and Metro Pacific Investments.
Zaragosa, out to atone a string of mediocre finishes, flashed fierce form with four birdies at the front and quickly erased a three-stroke deficit with another birdie on No. 11, moving 2-up on a two-shot swing as Alido bogeyed the par-3 hole.
But the three-day leader recovered with a birdie on No. 12 then bucked the wind with a solid 7-iron second shot from 170 yards that bounced once onto the green and into the cup of the par-4 13th, which Zaragosa bogeyed, and went 3-up again with another birdie on the next.
But Alido’s final hole bogey for a 35-34 and a 210 kept Zaragosa within striking distance at 212 as the latter carded a 68 with young Korean Kim Joo Hyung and Cebu’s Weiwei Gao joining the championship group with 214 and 216 after a 68 and 71, respectively.
Yuto Katsuragawa sustained his fightback from an opening 77 with a second straight 70 but the ace Japanese shotmaker remained seven shots behind at 217 in a tie with Jolo Magcalayo, who hobbled with a 73 while Carl Corpus lay a shot farther back at 218 with a 73 in the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and held in honor of the late golf patron and former NGAP president Rod Feliciano.
Hwang, meanwhile, moved 18 holes away from nailing another major win after humbling the pros at Mt. Malarayat two years ago, stringing a pair of 35s on four birdies against two bogeys for a three-day haul of 216, four strokes ahead of a faltering Constantino.
After an impressive 69 that shoved her to the lead Wednesday, Constantino lost her touch and rhythm and fumbled with four bogeys in a birdie-less stint, limping with a 76 and dropping to second at 220.
Yuka Saso finally rebounded from a 75 and 78 with a 69 but the reigning national champion stood six shots behind Hwang at 222 while The Country Club’s Mikha Fortuna, just one down behind Constantino at the start of the day, skied to a 78 and dropped to fourth at 223.
Pauline Del Rosario hardly recovered from a 78 and 74 with a 73 as the former Thailand Ladies Amateur champion pooled a 225 while TCC teammate Bernice Olivarez-Ilas turned in a 75 for a 227.
Meanwhile, Korean Kim Tae Soo matched par 72 to grab the lead in the Special Division with a 235, seven shots ahead of Miguel Ilas, who sputtered with an 82 for a 242 while Leandro Bagtas assembled a 243 after an 82.
Rafy Singson also went 7-up in the girls’ side of the 13-and-under class, shooting an 82 for a 249 with Arnie Taguines scoring a 256 after an 84 and Grace Quintanilla pooling a 273 after an 88.