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Late birdies lift Magcalayo by 2

Jolo Magcalayo birdied the last two holes to fire a 71 and seize a two-stroke lead over Kristoffer Arevalo and three others even as Yuka Saso and Harmie Constantino forged ahead in women’s play in the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play Golf Championship elims at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in Dasmariñas, Cavite yesterday.

Magcalayo, who placed sixth in last week’s Phl Amateur Open Strokeplay Championship at Sherwood, fumbled with two bogeys at the frontside of the Player’s course. But the 15-year-old De La Salle-Zoble standout rebounded with three birdies in the last nine, including the final two, to find himself the surprise leader in the 36-hole stroke play qualifier of the annual event held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation.

Arevalo also birdied the last hole to card a 73 and tie fancied Rupert Zaragosa, Luis Castro and Aniceto Mandanas at second while Carlo Villaroman wavered with a 41 for a 75 while Dan Cruz, Jonas Magcalayo and Richnell Albano all shot 76s and Ralph Lauron made a 77 to stay in the hunt for spots in the knockout phase which starts tomorrow (Wednesday).

Defending champion Noel Langamin groped for form in hot condition and shot a 78 for joint 11th with Liam Cully and Korean Choi Da Bin but also remained in the race for match play berths.

Saso, meanwhile, struggled a bit and carded a 74 to share the opening round lead with fellow national team mainstay Constantino in the women’s side of the annual tournament organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific Investment.