TAGAYTAY – Rufino Bayron fired a five-under par 67 yesterday to seize a four-stroke lead going into the final round of the ICTSI Splendido Classic.
Bayron made four birdies in a five-hole stretch from No. 7 and got a little help from Antonio Lascuna and Jhonnel Ababa who struggled coming home.
Lascuna limped home with a triple bogey on the par-4, 13th for a 71 while Ababa had bogeys on the 13th and 15th for a 70.
Bayron is 12-under 204 through 54 holes, four shots clear of new pursuers Clyde Mondilla and Mars Pucay in the $100,000 championship sponsored by ICTSI.
“No lead is safe here at Splendido, especially in the presence of the wind,” said Bayron, who last won at Orchard in the 2015 Philippine Golf Tour season. “But I’ll still do what I’ve been doing in the first three days – play it steady and be consistent.”
Mondilla eagled No. 11 and hit four birdies against a lone bogey to match Bayron’s five-under card in another scorching day at Taal Splendido.
The Del Monte ace, winner of two legs on the ICTSI PGT, pooled a 208 to tie Pucay, one of the sponsors’ invitees in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
The veteran Pucay gunned down nine birdies to negate his three bogeys and turn in the day’s best 66 as he earned a spot in the championship flight for the first time in a long, long while.
A shot back at 209 was Lascuña, who bounced back from a bogey opening with an eagle on No. 2 and four birdies in the next seven holes only to struggle with a slew of bogeys in the backnine.
Thai Pasavee Lertvelai came through with a third straight under-par card, a 69 but the PGT Asia Tour Q-School topnotcher at Luisita stood six strokes behind at 210 in a tie with Rene Menor, who carded a second straight 71, Arnold Villacencio, who shot a bogey-free 69, and Aussie DJ Loypur, who fired a 68.
Elmer Salvador, who won the PGT leg here last year, also eagled No. 11 but could only finish with a 71 for a 211 and solo 10th in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.