Luis Castro carded a second straight 69 and stormed to a huge 9-stroke lead over Kim Sang Jin halfway through the first Aguinaldo Junior Open Championship at the Camp Aguinaldo Golf Club in Quezon City on Tuesday.
Castro actually failed to shake off Kim in the early going and remained 2-up with identical 36s at the turn. But the former birdied the 10th and gained on a two-shot swing on a Kim bogey to go 4-up then pulled away with a 33 as his rival fumbled with four more bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-5 18th for a 40 and a 76.
With a 138 total, Castro, a member of the national training pool, stood 9 shots clear of Kim, who pooled a 147, with two rounds left in the tournament dubbed as the Red Jacket organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and hosted by CAGC.
Paolo Wong rebounded from an opening 76 with a 72 to wrest solo third at 148 while Richnell Albano hobbled with a 76 for a 150 and Riggs Illescas also limped with an eight-over card over the tight par-68 military layout for a 151.
The rest of the players in the Championship Division lay too far behind with Pierre Ticzon at 154 after a 75 in a tie with Joaquin Velez, Matthew Abalos and Leandro Bagtas, who carded 73, 78 and 80, respectively.
Harmie Constantino, who is expected to lead Team Phl in the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur with Yuka Saso, slowed down with an eagle-spiked 67 after a three-under 65 for a 132 in the girls’ side of the Championship Division, which stakes a Red Jacket plus a one-year membership at CAGC and a round trip ticket to US.
Meanwhile, action in Classes A (15-18), B (13-14), C (11-12), D (9-10) and E (8-and-below) gets going today with Zedi Lagman, Martin Alindogan and Andrea Zamco tipped to dispute the Class A crown and Andrei Gahol and Joa Chim Yu heading the Class B field.
Theresa dela Paz, Virgo Villacorta III, Zachary Castro and Sunshine Zhang are slugging it out in Class C while Joshua de Guzman, Mikhaella Constantino, Jody Castillo, Dylan Castillo and Gabie Rosca are clashing in Class D.
Mikaela dela Paz, Jacob Taruc and Precious Zaragosa head the field in Class E.