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Bayron seizes control

Shootout looms in final round

Jay Bayron (Czar Dancel)

Jay Bayron (Czar Dancel)

DASMARIÑAS, Cavite – Jay Bayron used a strong start and a near-impeccable short game to wrest control then closed out with gutsy pars to churn out a bogey-free 69 and hold off a charging Gunn Charoenkul of Thailand and a resilient Clyde Mondilla in the third round of the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship at the Orchard’s Player course here yesterday.

Bayron moved out of a three-way tie for second and into the lead in second-to-last flight with a birdie-birdie opening, took a two-stroke lead with another birdie on No. 11, all inside 10 feet, then fended off flightmate Charoenkul’s stirring eagle-finish with a slew of pars, including a couple of par-saves, to stay on top at seven-under 209.

Bracing for a shootout, the 38-year-old Bayron said he would need to shoot a 67 today to beat Charoenkul and Mondilla and check a so-so campaign in the season’s first four tournaments marred by a missed-cut stint at the Solaire Philippine Open.

“I have to score a five-under to win. I think that would be the winning score,” said Bayron, who won the Aboitiz Invitational and the Riviera Classic last year, barely making it a three with a one-shot loss to Elmer Salvador at Splendido.

Charoenkul, four behind Mondilla at the start of the round, rallied with three birdies in the last 12 holes capped by an eagle on the par-5 18th from six feet as the Thai threatened to spoil the local aces’ bid in the event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

With a 210, the 25-year-old Bangkok native tied Mondilla, who fought back from that double-bogey mishap with three birdies in a nine-hole stretch from No. 4 before surviving an up-and-down finish to save a 71.