MANILA, Philippines - Singapore’s Jerome Ng racked up a run of cold pars in tough condition and upstaged local ace Rupert Zaragosa to seize the lead with a 74 in the Philippine Amateur Open golf championship presented by the MVP Sports Foundation at Wack Wack’s East course yesterday.
Ng battled back from four strokes down to wrest a two-stroke edge even as Dottie Ardina pulled away in the ladies side with a gutsy 72 card.
Ng, seeking to keep the crown for Singapore after compatriot Gregory Foo reigned last year, made pars in the first 11 holes, stumbled with a bogey on the 12th but matched pars again in the next five before closing out with another bogey.
But his birdie-less card proved enough to shove him past Zaragosa at 225 as the local ace tumbled down with a 41 start and fell farther behind with a 39 for an 80 and a 227 as the field failed to solve the tough pin placements at the fabled layout.
Korean Jung Sang-in, just one shot behind Zaragosa at the start of the day, also made a 41 at the front en route to an 81 as he slid to third at 229, four strokes adrift.
But no lead is safe at Wack Wack’s East, thus keeping Malaysian Muhammad Afif Bin Razif, who had a 78 for a 230, and Marc Ong, also of Singapore, who assembled a 231, also after a 78, in the title hunt heading to today’s final round of the event conducted and sanctioned by the National Golf Association of the Phils., which also kicks off this year’s NGAP-PLDT Group Philippine Amateur Tour.
Ardina continued to dominate the ladies field with her superb backside game, matching par 72 and pulling away by seven over Mia Legaspi heading to the last 18 holes of the event backed by Pancake House, Titleist, Golf Depot, Pacsports and Autohub, the official transport service provider.
Ardina, who shot the lone-under par score of 70 Tuesday to open a four-stroke lead over Jayvie Agojo, bucked a two-over card after 10 holes with a stirring three-birdie string from No. 11 but failed to rescue a par on the 17th to settle for a 37-35 card.
The top ICTSI-The Country Club bet pooled a 36-hole aggregate of 142 for a whopping seven-shot lead over Legaspi, who blew a solid 35 with a shaky 39 marred by three bogeys in the last four holes for a 74 and a 149.
Agojo failed to recover from a 39 and hobbled with a 42 for an 81 as she tumbled to joint sixth at 155 with Malaysian Nur Durriyah, who made a 78.
Felicia Medalla matched Ardina’s 72 for third at 151 while Singapore’s Sock Hwee Koh turned in a 75 to tie Princess Superal at fourth at 153. Superal failed to recover from a so-so first round score of 76 with a 77.