TARLAC – Justin Quiban outgunned Clyde Mondilla in a frontside duel then bounced back from a bogey mishap on No. 12 with three birdies to card a 67 and storm ahead by five in the third round of the CAT (Central Azucarera de Tarlac) Open at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
Toughened up by Top 6 finishes at Southwoods and Wack Wack the last four weeks, Quiban, 21, thus moved 18 holes away from nailing a breakthrough victory with a 13-under 203.
“I feel pretty solid – with my irons doing the most damage which enabled me to attack the pins with precision,” said Quiban, who hit all but one fairway and missed just two greens in hot condition with the format back to summer rules.
Mondilla pulled to within two with back-to-back birdies from No. 11 but failed to match Quiban’s strong finishing kick of three birdies in the last six holes. He settled for a 71 and fell behind by five at 208.
Still, the 23-year-old winner of four Philippine Golf Tour legs this year, remained confident of his chances for a follow-up to his PGT Asia victory at Riviera last September but stressed the need to come up with a strong start in today’s final round.
“It can still be done. I just need to have a good start tomorrow (today),” said Mondilla, who yielded to Quiban’s near-impeccable game that featured six birdies, half of which he drilled inside seven feet at the front, against one bogey.
Just one up on the reigning PGT Order of Merit winner after 36 holes, Quiban birdied the par-3 No. 2 for the second straight day, gained on a two-shot swing on No. 4 (birdie-bogey) and pulled away by five with a birdie on the ninth for a 33.