Pro-bound Jobim Carlos and Harmie Constantino came away with scorching rounds in surprisingly calm condition and threatened to blow the field away halfway through the Philippine Amateur (Stroke Play) Open Golf Championship at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club in Gen. Trias, Cavite on Wednesday.
Carlos, who needed to pounce on Ira Alido’s late-hole mishap to wrest a one-stroke lead on a 73 in the opener of the 72-hole championship Tuesday, leaned on his day-long brilliance this time to fire a four-under 68 and take full control of the big international field at 141 for a six-stroke lead over Jang Jun Ha and Alido.
The Korean hit two late birdies to card a 71 while Alido also needed to birdie the par-5 16th to save a 73 for 147s even as Gen Nagai matched par 72 for a 148 and another Korean Jang Yu Bin also turned in an even par round for a 149 and a share of fifth with Weiwei Gao, who faltered with a 74.
Despite the absence of the dreaded wind, former champion Rupert Zaragosa continued to struggle, hobbling for a 74 and falling farther behind at 151 heading to the last 36 holes of the country’s premier amateur championship serving as the kickoff leg of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, PLDT and Metro Pacific Investment Corp.
“My putting clicked and the wind was hardly a factor so there was less pressure,” said Carlos, seeking to complete a back-to-back title romp in the annual event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
“But I still have to play well in the last two days,” added the former University of San Francisco mainstay who also won last week’s NGAP’s National Doubles with Inigo Raymundo.
The former University of San Francisco stalwart, set to join the pro ranks next month, gunned down six birdies from as far as 30 feet on No. 18 while finishing with two tap-ins on Nos. 9 and 16 and saving pars thrice.
Constantino actually bettered Carlos’ output from the ladies tees, finishing with seven birdies against two bogeys for a 67 that likewise put her six strokes away from Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso at 140.
“It’s a lot easier (to score) today (yesterday) without the wind. I hit better iron shots and putted well,” said Constantino, who strung up three straight birdies from No. 4, barely missing an eagle-putt from 15 feet on No. 5. She three putted No. 7 for bogey but rattled off four birdies in an eight-hole stretch from No. 9 before holing out a flubbed par putt from six feet on the 18th.
Saso, coming off a victory in Thailand last month, had two birdies but stumbled with the same number of bogeys, including on the last hole, her 72 giving her a 36-haul of 146 while Koreans Lee Ji Hyeon and Hwang Min Jeong and Malaysian Nur Durriyah Damian all had 148s after a 71, 73 and 74, respectively.