Zanieboy Gialon outgunned Justin Quiban in a thrilling homeward shootout at the front, birdying two of the last three holes, including the difficult par-3 No. 8, to rally from one down to 3-up with a 68 midway through the ICTSI Wack Wack Championship at WW East course in Mandaluyong on Thursday.
Gialon still trailed by one with three holes left in their spirited day-long duel of power game and iron play but birdied Nos. 7 and 8 then watched Quiban fumble with bogeys on two of the last three for a 71 in a huge four-shot swing that sent the former to the top of the heap at six-under 138.
“My driving and irons clicked,” said Gialon, who snapped a long title spell with a runaway six-shot romp over Jhonnel Ababa at ICTSI Calatagan Challenge last June.
He birdied No. 10, missed just one fairway but saved par on No. 12 then rebounded from a missed green bogey on No. 15 with back-to-back birdies from No. 3.
“I also got a bit lucky, making a birdie and pars on the usually tough holes like the No. 8 and 11 in the first two days,” said Gialon, who hacked a solid 6-iron tee-shot on WW’s signature 190-yard No. 8 and drilled in the putt from 10 feet.
It was a sorry foldup for Quiban, who looked headed to another impressive round after matching Gialon’s opening 70 and trailing Thai Pasavee Lertvilai by just one at the start of the second round of the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI.
The joint fifth placer in last Sunday’s Masters tilt at Southwoods countered Gialon’s early frontside birdies with back-to-back feats from No. 2 but cracked at the finish in another humid day, bogeying Nos. 7 and 9 to drop to 141.
Lertvilai actually held sway with a birdie on No. 10 but struggled the rest of the way, bogeying Nos. 1 and 7 before holing out with a birdie for a 73. He slipped to third at 142, four strokes adrift of the new leader.
Tony Lascuña rallied with two birdies at the front to save a 72 as the elite field continued to struggle at the demanding layout despite the absence of the wind. The former many-time Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit champion pooled a 143 and stayed in the hunt for a first crown in the inaugural PGT Asia organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Aussie Marcus Both and Jobim Carlos fought back from identical 75s with similar two-under 70s as they remained tied at 145 along with Japanese Hosho Takahashi and Rolando Marabe Jr., who matched par 72 and fumbled with a 74, respectively.
Korean Park Jun Sung turned in a 71 and tied Thai Wisut Artjanawat (73), James Ryan Lam (73) and Jhonnel Ababa (74) at 146 heading to the final 36 holes of the fourth leg of the PGT Asia backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.
Jay Bayron, a former champion at Wack Wack, hardly recovered from an opening 77 with a 76 and barely made the cut at 153 along with PGT Asia Splendido leg winner Rene Menor (73), Singapore’s Lion Goh (76), Swede Andreas Gronkvist (74) and Aussies Hayden Beard (75) and Rick Coleman (78).