Orlan Sumcad recovered from a horrid second round stint with a three-under 69 yesterdayand tied Jobim Carlos for the lead in the P3 million ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters at the Villamor Golf Club.
Sumcad, who dropped off a share of lead in the first round with an atrocious 76 Thursday, came through with back-to-back birdies from No. 16 to cap a 33-36 card and wrest control at four-under 212, which Carlos later matched with a closing birdie for a 74.
But Jerson Balasabas and Joenard Rates stayed right behind at 213 despite going over par after a 74 and a 75, respectively, while Nilo Salahog and Gerald Rosales assembled identical 214s after a 70 and 73, respectively, pointing to another wild, wooly finish the way it was in the revival of the fabled event sponsored by ICTSI last year.
Clyde Mondilla came back from four down in the final round and nipped Tony Lascuña, Jhonnel Ababa and American Nicholas Paez to win here last year with a scrambling finish again expected in the last 18 holes of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“I really had a good read of the greens where the pins were placed on tough spots and that helped me a lot,” said Sumcad, back in the hunt for a breakthrough win in a long pro career. “Also my approach shots were on target the whole day.”
After missing the green on the first hole for bogey, the power-hitting Summit Point pro strung up three straight birdies, including a chip-in from 10 yards on No. 3. He dropped another shot on the fifth but birdied Nos. 7 and 8 from close range to make the turn at 33.
He actually reeled back with bogeys on Nos. 12 and 15 but regained his bearing and came up with two late birdies.
“But I need to stay focused tomorrow (today) to gain a shot at my first title,” said Sumcad.
Carlos is also aiming for a first title in a young pro career although the former national champion has won the National pro-am recently in a victory that boosted his confidence coming into this blue-ribbon event.
“I am hitting well actually but I didn’t the needed breaks in some holes,” said Carlos, who failed to sustain his run of under par cards (67-71) with a bogey-marred 37-37 in tough condition.
But the duo will also have to check on four other players in front of them, including two chasing their maiden wins and the two others out to end a long title spell in the circuit backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.
Balasabas hit just one birdie against a bogey and a double bogey, while the unheralded Salahog shot the second of only seven under par cards in the day spiked by three birdies against a bogey. Rates and Rosales are also aiming to nail their first win since winning in Baguio and Wack Wack.
At least four other players remain in contention with Lascuña and Dutch Guido Van der Valk at 215s after a 70 and 72, respectively, Albin Engino at 216 after a second 74 and Ababa at 217 after a 75.