LIPA City: Angelo Que stumbled with another closing bogey but still hiked his lead to four over Clyde Mondilla with a six-under 66 as he moved 18 holes away from nailing the ICTSI Classic crown at Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
Que actually took a six-shot lead to the par-5 18th after another brilliant eagle-spiked round but dumped his second shot into the hazard and settled for that six-under card and a four-shot lead as Mondilla gained on a two-shot swing with a third straight birdie on the last hole for a 67 in sunny but still windless day at Mt. Lobo and Mt. Makulot nines.
But despite going four-up with a 17-under 199 total, the former three-time Asian Tour winner, toughened up by his stint in the Japan PGA Tour, still opted to downplay his chances for the top P360,000 purse and another impending victory at the Mt. Malarayat’s composite layout.
“I need to stay relaxed and focused. No room for complacency. It’s just a four-shot lead and anything can still happen,” said Que, seeking a follow-up to his runaway triumph at Anvaya Cove Invitational last February and a third straight win here after winning in 2008-09.
Three-up after 36 holes of the P2 million event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., Que shook off Mondilla’s birdie-birdie charge from No. 2 with an eagle-birdie-birdie counter to close out the frontside then sustained his assault at the back with three more birdies before that second straight bogey finish gave Mondilla some semblance of hope for a final round fightback.
The Del Monte ace looked headed to fading out after that early birdie binge as he mixed three bogeys with two birdies in the next six holes. But the Southwoods and Philippine Masters champion bounced back with four birdies at the back to stay in second at 13-under 203.
James Ryan Lam, who fired the tournament-best 64 Thursday, bucked a bogey on No. 2 with five birdies in an eight-hole stretch from No. 5 and ended up with a 68, moving to far joint third at 208 with Jerson Balasabas, who carded a 69.
Nathan Park, the third player in the featured group, failed to match Que and Mondilla’s sustained charge as the Aussie bet bogeyed the last two holes and hobbled with a 73 to drop to joint fifth at 209 with Frankie Miñoza and Omar Dungca.
Miñoza, who outlasted Miguel Tabuena in a record five-hole playoff in Bacolod last year, gunned down five birdies in the last 10 and shot a 67 while Dungca birdied the last for a 70.
Jun Bernis carded a 71 for a 210 while Japanese Genki Okada shot a second 68 and moved to joint ninth with Jhonnel Ababa, who fired a 70, and Joenard Rates, who matched par 72, at 211.
Tony Lascuña, the reigning Order of Merit champion and winner of the last Philippine Golf Tour leg at Forest Hills, tried to mount a comeback from 12 down with five birdies in the first holes. But the veteran Davaoeño shotmaker failed to recover from a bogey mishap on No. 9 and settled for a run of pars and one birdie at the back for a 65 and a 212 in a tie with Keanu Jahns (68) and Zanieboy Gialon (70), 13 strokes off Que heading to the final round of the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.