Joaquin Gomez birdied the last hole to salvage an even par 72 and catch Carl Corpus and Jacob Rolida at the helm at the start of the elims of the fourth MVPSF Visayas Regional Match Play Championships at Cebu Country Club yesterday.
Corpus, third placer here last year, actually took charge with a 35 at the turn but faltered at the finish while Rolida blew a two-under card with bogeys in the last two holes, enabling Gomez to force a three-way tie with a birdie on No. 18.
Thirty seven players are slugging it out in the 36-hole stroke play elims with the top 16 moving to the next phase where play shifts to match play in the event held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
Aidric Chan, winner of last week’s Philippine Junior Amateur Open at Sherwood, missed joining the troika with bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18, settling for a 73 in a tie with Harry Cabajar and Paolo Wong while Harvey Sytiongsa and Rolando Pila carded identical 74s in hot conditions to stay in early contention in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Group, Cignal and Metro Pacific and hosted by CCC.
Local star Junia Gabasa, who had to settle for division title in the PH Juniors after young Rianne Malixi snared the overall crown, birdied two of the last three holes to turn in a 74 and open a two-stroke lead over Grace Quintanilla, who groped for a 76, in the ladies side of the five-day event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines as part of its talent-search in various regions.
Pamela Mariano skied to an 82 but still took third spot while Kristine Fleetwood and Cleer Flores struggled with 90 and 95 but still stood well inside the cutoff line in the distaff side.