Perry Josef Bucay fired a one-under-par 71 to grab a one-shot lead over erstwhile frontrunner Rho Hyun Ho halfway through the 2022 National Stroke Play Championship at the Manila Southwoods Legends course Wednesday in Carmona, Cavite.
The 19-year-old Bucay continued his steady touch with three birdies and two bogeys in a round that bettered his opening 73 on Tuesday and with a 144 total, inched a stroke ahead of Korean teener Ho, who needed back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to salvage a 75 and stay in the championship hunt.
Bucay, a legal management freshman at La Salle, is coming off a rousing performance at the ICTSI Luisita Championship leg of the local pro tour where he contended for the crown before settling for third place behind eventual winner Miguel Tabuena and runner-up Clyde Mondilla.
Bucay’s short game performance saved him a lot of strokes against the testy pin placements, needing just 29 putts after hitting 13 of 18 greens – as he kept himself in solid contention for the title being chased by a solid pack including members of the national SEA Games team competing next month in Vietnam.
One of the Nationals, however, lost the opportunity to contend in the last two rounds when Jed Dy signed an incorrect scorecard and disqualified himself.
Dy had signed for a par instead of a bogey on the last hole that could have hardly mattered in his bid. With a 72 instead of 71, he could still have been just a shot off the front-running Bucay.
Meantime, Lois Kaye Go put things back into the order in ladies division play by wresting a one-shot lead with a one-over-par 73.
Upstaged by Lia Gabrielle Rosca in the opening round, Go carried the cudgels for the SEA Games-bound team with a 147 total for 36 holes to jump ahead by one over Laurea Duque, who became the first player in the ladies field to break par with a 71 for 148.
Reese Ng turned in a 74 to occupy third place at 150 then came Rosca, who carded a 78-151, and recent Philippine Junior Amateur winner and SEA Games team member Mafy Singson (74-153).
“It’s the first time it has happened to me, Good lesson to learn,” said the 18-year-old Dy who notified the technical committee of the error on his card on his way home and asked to be DQd.
With Dy out, it was Kristoffer Arevalo who became the best-placed national team member with his second straight 73 giving him a share of third at 146 with Kim Tae Soo, the Philippine Junior Amateur runner-up who turned in the best score of the day of 70.
Soo joined Ho in keeping the Korean challenge alive in this event backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, the PLDT Group, Huawei and Manila Southwoods with a five-birdie stint through his first 10 holes and missed his shot at tying for or grabbing the lead with bogeys on two of the last three holes.
Jet Hernandez limped home with a 76 and was in solo sixth place at 149 behind Edwin Sanchez (72-148) while Gab Manotoc had a 77 for 153 and a share of 11th with Marc Lu who soared to an 80.