Luis Castro toughened up at the back and carded a two-under 69 then pounced on Tom Kim’s shaky windup to wrest a two-stroke lead at the start of the 2017 Riviera MVPSF Amateur Championship at the Riviera Golf Club in Silang, Cavite yesterday.
Castro hit three birdies against two bogeys at Langer’s last nine holes, battling back from one down at the front to seize control of the Men’s Championship division with two 35s after club bet Kim wavered with a bogey-par-bogey finish and dropped to second with a 71.
Sean Ramos blew a decent 36 start with a closing 39 and hobbled with a 75, falling by six strokes off Castro heading to the last two rounds of the 54-hole championship hosted and co-sponsored by RGCI for the first time with the MVP Sports Foundation.
Aidric Chan, who ruled the NGAP Northern Luzon Regionals at Beverly Place last month, also succumbed to Langer’s demanding backside, limping with a 40 for a 77 while Don Petil stood a shot farther back at 78 in a tie with Josef Bucay and Jacob Rolida.
Sofia Legaspi, on the other hand, birdied the two par-3s at the front and added three more against four bogeys and a triple-bogey seven on No. 6 as she turned in a two-over 73 to open a three-stroke lead over Kayla Nocum in the ladies play.
Nocum trailed Legaspi by just one at the turn but bogeyed three of the last five holes and ended up with a 76.
Korean Kang Da Yun struggled with a pair of 40s for joint third with Isabela Miravite while Maria Tee made an 81 and Kim Hui won and Jang Yun Ji of Korea shot identical 85s.
Also being disputed in the four-day event, serving as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour, are the the Mid-Amateur and the seniors trophies.
Castro, winner of the Aguinaldo Junior Open last June, gunned down two birdies against a bogey at the front but still trailed Kim, who flashed his familiarity with the par-71 layout with two birdies for a 33.
But Castro birdied the par-5 10th to draw level then traded pars with Kim in the next five holes before snaring the lead with a par on No. 16 and moving 2-up with a birdie on the overlooking par-3 17th.
Carlo Villaroman, meanwhile, hardly recovered from an opening 41 with a 39 for an 80, the same output put in by Marc Newman and Carl Corpus, while Paolo Wong, winner of the recent Canlubang Amateur Open, skied to a closing 42 and fell 12 shots off Castrol with an 81 in a tie with GJ Katigbak and Riggs Illescas.