Jobim Carlos rode on a blazing windup to fire a five-under 67, battling from six strokes down and grabbing a one-stroke lead over Japanese Yuto Katsuragawa even as Princess Superal moved closer to another title romp in the 21st W Express RVF Cup Amateur Golf Championship at Cangolf’s North Course in Canlubang on Thursday.
The pro-bound Carlos, seeking a big win here to cap a checkered amateur career, scorched the backside with four birdies en route to a 67 and a 213, shouldering himself past a faltering Katsuragawa, who failed to sustain a lead-grabbing 68 halfway through and stumbled with a 74 for a 214.
With Justin Quiban laying six strokes adrift at 217 after a 73 and the rest too far behind to pose a threat, the fight for this year’s title is reduced to a two-man affair with Carlos and Katsuragawa bracing for a final round shootout in the event sponsored by W Express, conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and held in honor of the late golf patron Rod Feliciano.
First day leader Luis Castro skied to a 77 and fell to 221 while Korean Tom Kim matched par 72 but stood at 226 in a tie with Kevin Akbar, who carded a 74, and Weiwei Gao and Carl Corpus, who made identical 75s, in the tournament sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, PLDT and Metro Pacific Investment Corp. and Cangolf and serving as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour.
Lester Lagman, playing out of Veterans, made an 80 for a 246 but spiked his 40-40 card with a hole-in-one on No. 15, using an 8-iron Callaway Razr and Strata No. 2 ball for the feat. It was the second hole-in-one posted in the event with Jelbert Gamolo making an ace on No. 4 in the first round.
Superal, meanwhile, needed no such feat to stay in control as The Country Club ace virtually nailed the ladies crown despite a two-over 74, her 217 total putting her six shots clear of Harmie Constantino, who moved to second again with a 73 for a 223.
Bernice Olivarez-Ilas struggled with a 75 and dropped to third at 224 while Yuka Saso bowed out of title chase with a 76 and a 228 followed by Sam Martirez, who made a 76 for a 230, Korean Hwang Min Jeong, who skied to a 77 for a 233, and Mikha Fortuna, who bounced back with a 73 for a 234 in a tie with TCC teammate Kayla Nocum and Nicole Abelar, who limped with 77 and 80, respectively.
Carlos, winner of the recent national doubles and stroke play championship, actually faltered in the early going with two bogeys in the first three holes but birdied three of the next six holes then sustained his charge to pick up strokes on Nos. 10, 15, 16 and 17.
Katsuragawa, who surged ahead with a four-under card Wednesday, stayed ahead of Carlos despite an opening 37 but missed a couple of birdie chances and closed out with two bogeys against one birdie for another 37.