CEBU: Angelo Que put in a flawless five-under 67 to grab a one-stroke lead over a faltering Elmer Salvador, setting up a virtual mano-a-mano between of two of the country’s finest shotmakers as the rest fell behind in moving day in the Aboitiz Invitational at the Cebu Country Club here Friday.
Que overhauled a four-stroke deficit with a combination of talent and luck in improved weather condition, setting up five birdies chances from close range while coming through with a couple of pars that flightmate Anthony Fernando jestingly described as “not in the menu.”
“Yes, I saved five pars, including two off my 9-iron, which I used instead of a lob wedge since the greens have become firmer,” said Que, who birdied Nos. 3, 6, 7, 14 and 16 in a flight ahead of Salvador to surge ahead at 10-under 206.
Salvador, who strung up impressive 67-68 rounds in tough condition to seize a two-stroke lead over England’s Ian Keenan halfway through, bogeyed two of the last seven holes in uncharacteristic fashion, the last on the 17th that enabled Que to snatch a one-stroke lead heading to the final 18 holes of the $65,000 event presented by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI).
“I like my chances. The rest are too far behind and I’ve got only one player to contend with,” said Que, referring to Salvador, who settled for a 72 and dropped to 207.
Salvador whined on his stiff arms that he said hampered his shots all day, particularly his short game that has anchored his superb performance in the first two rounds of the event serving as the eighth leg of the Asian Development Tour, a feeder circuit to the Asian Tour.
“It just became stiff after I had it massaged last night [Thursday]. I just can’t swing the club the way I used to,” said Salvador in Filipino.
Still, the ace Davaoeno shotmaker is well within reach of his dream title-retention bid and another $11,375 purse but would need to redisplay his old form to foil Que from a breakthrough win here and become the first player to retain a crown on the ADT.