Jobim Carlos overcame a fumbling start and Jay Bayron’s eagle-spiked 70, scrambling for a one-over 73 to barely hang on to a one-stroke lead in the third round of the P3.5 million ICTSI Manila Masters at the Eastridge Golf Club here in Binangonan, Rizal on Friday.
Carlos blew an overnight four-shot lead over a hot-charging Bayron as he lost his focus and putting touch, stumbling with a bogey and a double bogey in the first three holes but pounced on his veteran rival’s mishap on No. 15th to regain control. He then matched Bayron’s third straight birdie on the closing par-5 hole from three feet to salvage a 35 and a 73.
With a 211 aggregate over 54 holes, Carlos moved 18 holes away from scoring a breakthrough early in his pro career but the 20-year-old shotmaker has a lot of shielding to do with at least four players within striking distance for the top P650,000 purse in this fifth leg of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
“I lost my focus and suffered a mental lapse,” rued Carlos, who four-putted for 5 on the par-3 No. 3. “But I was lucky to still be in the lead. I’ll just have to play extra cautious and avoid getting into trouble in the final round.”
Four down halfway through the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., Bayron gained on Carlos’ shaky start then gunned down an eagle on the par-5 seventh to draw level. But the former Asian Development Tour Order of Merit winner bogeyed No. 9, birdied No. 14 from close range to tie again only reel back again with a missed green bogey on the 15th.
He finished with a 70, grabbed second place at 212 and bolstered his bid for another win after besting Miguel Tabuena and Tony Lascuna at ICTSI Summit Point Golf Classic last year.
But unheralded Rene Menor stayed in the hunt at 213 despite a 73 while Clyde Mondilla also birdied the last hole to fire a 71 and tie the surprise first round leader at third even as veteran Frankie Minoza likewise put himself in rare contention for the crown in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.
Minoza, seeking an end to a long title spell, birdied three of the last four holes in vintage fashion to shoot a 71 for a 214, just three off Carlos.
Joenard Rates bounced back from a bogey on the second hole with a cluster of birdies and went on to fire the tournament-best five-under 67 to jump from out of nowhere to joint sixth with Chris delos Santos, who matched par 72, at even 216.
The rest stood too far to pose a threat, including top guns former three-time PGT Order of Merit winner Tony Lascuna, defending champion Angelo Que and reigning OOM champion Miguel Tabuena who failed to make a charge in the pivotal round of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Lascuna, runaway winner at Luisita last month, ran off pars in the first 17 holes then birdied the last for a 71 and a 217, a stroke ahead of Jerson Balasabas and Dutch Guido Van der Valk, who both had 218s after a 70 and 72, respectively, while Que, who beat Tabuena and Ferdie Aunzo by two here last year, holed out with a horrendous triple 8 on the 18th and ended up with a 73.
He fell to joint 11th with Mhark Fernando, who shot a 71, and Zanieboy Gialon, who hobbled with a 74, at 220 while Tabuena continued to grope for form though he closed out with three straight birdies for a 73 and a 221 in a tie with Michael Bibat and Mars Pucay, who shot identical 73s.