MANILA, Philippines - LJ Go moved into the threshold of a major breakthrough win with a gutsy one-under 71 as he led by seven shots over Jerome Ng of Singapore in third round of the MVPSF Philippine Amateur Open Golf Championship at Wack Wack East Course yesterday.
Go, 18, stumbled with two bogeys but came away with three birdies, including a birdie-blast on No. 16 that spiked his 37-34 card, enabling the Cebu Country Club bet to stay clear off his rivals who struggled with over par scores in another tough day at the challenging layout.
“I played steady, if not steadier, today (yesterday) because I’m hitting my three to four-feet putts,” said Go, who is flying home to Cebu tomorrow before going back on Jan. 12 to the US to resume his studies at Seton Hall U where he is a golf scholar.
Ng, who started the round three strokes off Go, failed to gain headway as he blew hot and cold and ended up with a 75 for a 222, while fellow Singaporeans Marc Ong and Andul Hadi were too far off the pace with 228s after a 75 and 77, respectively.
“I played all right, but he (Go) just played better,” said Ng, who humbled the local field to capture last year’s crown of the country’s premier amateur championship presented by the MVP Sports Foundation, sanctioned by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour,
Opening day leader Jobim Carlos continued to flounder, limping with an 82 for a 230 in a tie with Singapore’s Johnson Poh and local bet Gabriel Atienza, who carded a 78 and an 80, respectively.
Antonio Asistio, the former pro and multi-titled amateur, improved with a 74 to join Gen Nagai and Filipino Justin Quiban, who had a 74 and an 80, respectively, at 231.
Like in the previous round, Go, a member of back-to-back PAL Interclub champion CCC team, went on a shaky start, bogeying No. 1 after missing the green then three-putted No. 6. But he birdied Nos. 5, 12 and 16, the last from the bunker which he barely missed Tuesday.
Seven up, Go hopes to coast to victory in today’s final round for what could be his biggest triumph in a young amateur career that included a third place finish in a Seton Hall tournament last October and a 10th place effort in the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour leg at Palos Verdes, also last year.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to do it,” he said.