Orlan Sumcad found the tough condition to his liking and turned in one of his best rounds in years – a bogey-free six-under 66 that shoved him past fancied Tony Lascuña and Zanieboy Gialon halfway through the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational at the Aoki layout here in Gen. Trias, Cavite on Wednesday.
The long-hitting Sumcad strung up a pair of back-to-back birdie feats at the back of the rain-softened par-72 layout where he teed off then came out of the hour-long delay due to threat of lightning with two birdies in the last five holes for an impressive 34-32 card he spiked with two scrambling pars.
“The key to this kind of condition is to keep the ball in play on the fairway. That gave me some advantage,” said Sumcad, who overhauled a three-stroke deficit to wrest a one-stroke lead and move 36 holes away from finally nailing the elusive crown on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour with a nine-under 135 total.
But it will take a lot of effort for Sumcad, 42, to realize a dream title run as Lascuña and Gialon stood just a stroke behind with a pair of 70s for 136s and hot Clyde Mondilla stayed on course for a third straight leg victory at 138, also after a 70.
Although Jhonnel Ababa, Japanese Ryoma Miki and Marvin Dumandan lay four strokes behind at 139 after a 68, 69 and 72, respectively, and Elmer Salvador (68), Mars Pucay (70), Justin Quiban (70) and Joenard Rates (71) were six shots behind at 141, they all remained in the hunt for the top P360,000 purse with two rounds left in the P2 million championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Forty players made the 36-hole cut at 148 with former leg winners Rufino Bayron (73) and Arnold Villacencio (74), Korean Park Min Ung (79), and Pedo Repato (74) and Rolando Marabe Jr. (79) barely advancing and Korean Park Jun Song (75), Japanese Yuta Sudo (77), James Ryan Lam (76), Ferdie Aunzo (72), Art Arbole (76), Reymon Jaraula (77) and John Rey Pactolerin (71) falling short by one.
Despite dropping off the lead, Lascuña liked where he stood with the former three-time Order of Merit winner confident of his chances for a second victory after romping off with the Luisita Championship crown last April.
“I’m still happy to be just one back. Nobody has a clear edge here, not with the rain,” said Lascuña, also trying to foil Mondilla’s bid to duplicate his three-title run in 2014.
Mondilla, meanwhile, hopes to atone for his rollercoaster round of six birdies against four birdies yesterday with a solid output today in a bid to put himself within the pacesetters going to the final 18 holes of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“It’s going to be a tough third round. But I have to shoot with precision, otherwise, I’d be left behind,” said the 23-year-old Mondilla, who nipped Jobim Carlos in a playoff to snare the Manila Masters crown at Eastridge then dominated the Calatagan field two weeks ago.
Focus will also be on Gialon, who toughened up at the frontside on his homeward trip with two birdies to save a 70 and keep him in step with Lascuña at second.
“I have to stay focused and try not to be intimidated by these long hitters,” said Gialon, referring to Sumcad and Lascuna in the featured threesome in the penultimate round of the event.