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Carlos sizzles in rain-hit Pueblo tilt

CAGAYAN de Oro – Jobim Carlos dropped eight birdies before heavy rains fell and completed a stirring bogey-free 64 for a two-stroke lead over Korean Lee Song in the ICTSI Pueblo De Oro Championship yesterday here.

Rains the past few days caused adverse conditions on some parts of the Pueblo layout, forcing the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. to use winter rules at the start of the R3 million tournament with Carlos making the most of it by gunning down four birdies on each nine, capped by a three-birdie binge from No. 15 for a pair of 32s.

But it also took Carlos a quick swing check on his iron game to get back into the groove after finishing tied for sixth at Del Monte Championship last week where he missed a lot of greens despite solid driving.

“I called coach Carito (Villaroman) the other day and we corrected some minor details on my swing. And it did wonders,” said Carlos, who broke through at PGT Asia at Riviera last month then ruled the PGT Apo Invitational two weeks ago on a strong windup.

He birdied all par-5s, knocked down three more on par-4s inside 10 feet and banged in a six-footer on the par-3 11th, barely missing a 63 on a flubbed seven-footer on the last hole.

“The greens here are a bit tricky. You always have to be on the right side otherwise you’ll be in trouble because most are undulating,” said Carlos.

But a slew of aces kept Carlos within sight, including Lee, now eyeing no less than a victory after finishing tied for second with James Ryan Lam at Del Monte. The young Korean also spiked his 66 with four birdies in the last six holes for a 34-32 card and
trailed by just two.

“I had good iron shots at the back but I think my putter was hot,” said Song, who drilled in a 20-footer on No. 13 and drained a 33-footer on the last for two of his highlight birdies.

Tony Lascuña, due for a big win after a string of top 10 finishes, also turned in a solid 67, hinting at a putting contest in the next three days.