SILANG, Cavite: Upstaged by Gerald Rosales in the first round, Mhark Fernando got back at the first round leader and wrested control with a three-under 68 for a three-stroke lead over a charging Marvin Dumandan and steady Edward Reyes halfway through the P2.5 million ICTSI (International Container Terminal Services Inc.) Riviera Classic at the Riviera Golf and Country Club here on Thursday.
With the dreaded par-71 Langer course still proving as tough as ever in benign condition, Fernando pulled off another big recovery after another faulty start in overcast skies, hitting three birdies at the back that anchored his 35-33 card for a 36-hole aggregate of four-under 138.
“There’s wind but not as strong that’s why I was able to score,” said Fernando, who improved a bit with a bogey on the par-4 No. 1, which he double-bogeyed in the first round of the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. on Wednesday.
Like in the opener where he fought back to shoot a 70, the former national champion rebounded with a mix of pars and birdies, finishing with a flourish and moving 36 holes away from duplicating his victory here five years ago as an amateur.
“I also got lucky to set up a number of birdie chances since it’s tough to make a birdie here,” added Fernando.
Pars would’ve been enough for Rosales, who bogeyed the last three holes and hobbled with a five-over 76 after outgunning Fernando with an impressive four-under 67 in the first round. His 143 total dropped him to joint fifth with two others.
The former Philippine Open champion here in 2000 quickly stormed out of the clubhouse after signing his scorecard, which showed four more bogeys against two birdies.