by Waylon Galvez
STA. ROSA, Laguna – Clyde Mondilla put himself in a strong position of winning his second title in two weeks by tying Korean teenager Kim Joo Hyung for the lead halfway through the 2019 Don Pocholo Razon Memorial Cup yesterday at The Country Club here.
Winner of the Philippine Open title at the same course, Mondilla carded a one-over 73 to draw level with the Korean who shot a 71.
Mondilla seized the solo lead after going one under with a huge birdie on the 14th but blew the chance with a double-bogey on the 16th.
The two had two-day aggregates of 146, two shots ahead over first round leader Jerson Balasabas and three-time champion Angelo Que, who posted 76 and 75, respectively.
A stroke farther back was Keanu Jahns while two-time winner Juvic Pagunsan was at sixth place with 150 (73), while tied for seventh to ninth places were Albin Engino (75), Australian Tim Stewart (76) and Yugoslav Peter Stojanovski (76) at 151.
At 10th to 11th places were former champion Tony Lascuna, Jay Bayron and the Netherlands’ Guido Van Der Valk at 152.
The 16-year-old Kim, who turned professional just a year ago, came through with clutch putts at the back nine where he converted three of his four birdies that more than made up for his three bogeys.
“This course is really difficult, you just want to make par on every hole. A birdie is bonus, and if you bogey, just continue to play your game,” said Mondilla, who birdied Nos. 2, 5, 8 and 14, while he bogeyed the 6th, 11th and 12th.
With a better performance after an opening round 75, Kim, who lived in the country for six years before moving to Thailand last year, expressed satisfaction knowing he is in good position to contend for the championship.
“It was pretty solid to be honest. I’ve been struggling lately, so to put myself in a position, I’m ok with that,” said Kim.
“There are 36 more holes to play to play and this course is very tough, it’s like playing another 72 holes. But it’s the same golf for me, stick to the game plan,” added Kim, who placed tied for 10th in the PH Open.