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Kim bounces back at Riviera

SILANG, Cavite – Tom Kim bounced back from an opening 73 with a four-under 68 as the club bet took the clubhouse lead by three over Rupert Zaragosa in the second round of the 2018 Philippine Amateur Open Championship at Riviera Golf and Country Club’s Couples course here yesterday.

After blowing a two-under frontside card with a closing 39 in the opener, the reigning national junior champion put up a strong start and this time held sway in tough condition at the back to finish with six birdies against two bogeys and surge ahead with a number of flights from among the 84-player field still having to finish their respective rounds at presstime.

He pooled a 141 and took a provisional three-shot cushion over former champion Zaragosa, who also rebounded from a 73 with a 71 for a 144 heading to the weekend play of the country’s premier event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and held as part of the PLDT National Amateur Golf Tour.

But while Kim and Zaragosa made up for their over-par starts, erstwhile joint leaders Aidric Chan and Luis Castro failed to sustain their lead-grabbing 70s Thursday, fumbling with a pair of 75s to drop to joint third at 145, now four strokes off the pace.

Cebu’s Weiwei Gao and Singaporean Abdul Hadi, meanwhile, fought back from a pair of 75s with one-under 71s as they assembled a 146 in a tie with Carl Corpus, who fired a late 70 to force a three-way tie for the lead but stumbled with a 75 and slipped to joint fifth.

Gregory Foo, also of Singapore, likewise recovered from a horrible 77 start with a two-under 70 to pool a 147 and wheel back into title contention in the 72-hole championship backed by One Tagaytay Place Hotel Suites as official hotel.

Meanwhile, play in the women’s side also remained unfinished at presstime although Korean Hwang Min Jeong had put up an early charge with a 67 Thursday to open a four-stroke lead over compatriot Lee Ji Hyeon.

But Lois Go stayed within striking distance with a 72 while former winner Harmie Constantino carded a 73 for solo third followed by last year’s runner-up Kim Hee Ji of Korea and local bet Clare Legaspi, who both turned in 74s in the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.