Aidric Chan finally hit his stride and fired a one-under 71, forcing a tie with an equally charging Sean Ramos even as Kayla Nocum held on to the girls’ lead despite an 80 in the third round of the Philippine Junior Amateur Open Golf Championships at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martires, Cavite yesterday.
Chan, the pre-tournament favorite who groped for form with 78 and 75 in the first two days in tough conditions, broke a par-game with a birdie on the par-5 15th then parred the rest to turn in the first under-par card in hot, blustery conditions after 54 holes of the third leg of this year’s PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
But out to foil Chan’s title drive is Ramos, who bucked a double-bogey mishap on No. 10 and a bogey on the 13th with three straight birdies from No. 15 as he saved a 72 to match the former’s three-hole aggregate of 224 heading to the final 18 holes of the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Group, Cignal and Metro Pacific.
Halfway leader Paolo Barro cracked under pressure and shot himself in the foot with an 82 to tumble to third at 229, virtually leaving the fight for the crown in the Albatross division (15-18) to Chan and Ramos with Carl Corpus coming through with a 77 for a 230 and Josh Jorge and Paolo Wong scoring 232s after 76 and 79, respectively.
A tight finish also loomed in the distaff side with Nocum surviving a poor game after sizzling a 69 in the second round of the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines. She hobbled with a 39 after nine holes then dropped two strokes on the par-4 10th and holed out with a triple bogey on the 18th.