Korean amateur Tom Kim proved steadier than the elite pros who wavered at the finish coming off another hour-long weather delay, birdying two of the last four holes for a 67 and a two-stroke lead over Clyde Mondilla in the third round of the ICTSI Riviera Classic in Silang, Cavite on Friday.
Kim bogeyed the 18th at resumption of his second round play early morning for a 69 but fought back from three shots down with a five-birdie, one-bogey stint in the pivotal round to find himself the bewildered leader at seven-under 206.
That was two strokes clear off Mondilla, who matched par 71 at the completion of his second round play late Thursday and kept his two-shot lead intact with a frontside 34 before limping at the resumption of third round play with three bogeys against a birdie in the last eight holes.
He wound up with a 72 and dropped to second at 208 while Michael Bibat, who threatened with two off Mondilla with a solid second round 65, also bogeyed the par-5 16th and slid to third at 209 with the two pros expected to gang up on the young Kim in today’s final round for a shot at the top $17,500 purse.
Marvin Dumandan shot his third straight 70 and stayed in contention at 210 although the former club pro stood four strokes behind Kim, winner of last year’s Philippine Junior Amateur Open crown.
Charles Hong also followed up his second round 68 with a 69 as the former ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour winner tied Dumandan at fourth while Dutch Guido Van der Valk fired the round’s best 66 to gain solo sixth at 212 heading to the last 18 holes of the $100,000 championship serving as the third leg of the inaugural PGT Asia Tour sponsored by ICTSI.
Tony Lascuña carded a second 71 for joint seventh with Erwin Arcillas, who shot a 69, at 214 while erstwhile contender Ira Alido stumbled with a five-over card for a running two-over overall with two to play.
Jhonnel Ababa turned in a 70 after a 71 for a 215 in a tie with Jerson Balasabas and American James Bowen, who carded a 70 and 71, respectively.
The rest of the 53 players who made the cut lay too far behind the leaders although four locals remained within striking distance of Kim for a crack at the top $17,500 purse in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Three down and a flight behind Mondilla, Bibat and Ira Alido, Kim worked his way back with birdies on Nos. 2 and 8 then added another birdie on No. 11 to crowd Mondilla on top before play was stopped due to threats of lightning.
He actually stumbled with a bogey on the tough par-4 14th but bounced back by birdying No. 15 for the third straight day then secured the lead with a closing birdie on the par-4 18th that he bogeyed in the first two days.
Mondilla birdied the par-5 16th for the third straight time to stay in step with Kim but the Del Monte ace missed the par-3 17th and made a bogey, enabling the Korean to move on top and threaten to become the first amateur to win in the region’s newest circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.