Davao – Clyde Mondilla and Michael Bibat birdied the last hole from close range in separate flights, carding a 68 and 70, respectively, and catching halfway leader Ira Alido at the helm in a thrilling third round duel in the ICTSI South Pacific Classic here yesterday.
And Tony Lascuña guaranteed a final round shootout by coming through with his own version of a 68 that pulled him within one stroke off the leaders and kept him on track for a third straight championship after winning in Taiwan and at Apo the last two weeks.
“The pressure is now them,” said Lascuña, who started the day four shots off Alido but gunned down six birdies at the South Pacific Golf & Leisure Estates to negate a double-bogey mishap on the par-3 No. 3.
Alido rued his day-long bout with his balky putter, missing three birdie chances from close range but his 71 and a 209 still lined him up for a breakthrough win in the P3 million event sponsored by ICTSI.
“I flubbed three short birdie putts (Nos. 4, 10 and 13),” rued the 18-year-old Alido, out not only for his maiden victory but also to erase the stigma of his final round fold at Philippine Golf Tour Asia leg at Wack Wack which he led in the third round but wavered in the last 18 holes and wound up fifth.
“I need to stay focused on my game,” said Alido.
He also needs to watch out for Mondilla and Bibat, two veterans also motivated by desire to end a slump in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., and Lascuna, who threatened at 210.
Mondilla, whose form took a dip after claiming the Philippine Open at The Country Club last April, pressed his bid with four birdies in the first 15 holes. He stumbled with a bogey on the 17th but recovered the stroke with a birdie from four feet on the 18th.
Bibat, still in pursuit of a crown since winning at Palos Verdes in 2013, actually took charge with a four-birdie binge at the front. But the former Asian Games bronze medalist, who lost to Juvic Pagunsan in a playoff in Iloilo last June, hobbled at the back, bogeying Nos. 12, 14 and 17 but rolled in a six-footer for birdie on the last to gain a shot at the crown worth P550,000.
The rest would need to shoot low rounds to sneak into the title picture with Richard Sinfuego and obscure Rico Depilo moving to joint fifth but three strokes behind the leaders at 212 after a 71 and 72, respectively.
Japanese Ryo Nishimura and Fidel Concepcion from Australia emerged as the top foreign bets after 54 holes at 213 after a 66 and 71, respectively, in a tie with Paul Echavez, who shot a 70, while Korean-American Micah Shin rallied with a 68 but stood five shots behind at 214 with Japanese Kei Matsuoka and Ferdie Aunzo, who carded 70 and 71, respectively.
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