Zaragosa pulls away by 3 over Hoey

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TRECE Martirez, Cavite—Picking up four shots in a hot three-hole stretch on the back nine, Rupert Zaragosa fired a 3-under-par 69 yesterday and scooted  to a three-stroke lead over Rico Hoey after the second round of the Philippine Amateur Closed championship presented by the MVP Sports Foundation at Sherwood Hills here.

Zaragosa, aiming to win the only national title missing in his collection, went birdie-birdie-eagle from No. 13 and stormed away from the field with a 140 total going into the final 36 holes of the event serving as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.

Hoey, the 17-year-old incoming business studies freshman at University of Southern California, returned a 71 for 143 with Jobim Carlos and Jonathan Delos Reyes, who complete this year’s Putra Cup team together with Zaragosa, tying for third at 148 after a 70 and 77, respectively.

LJ Go, the teenager from Cebu, was also at 148 after a 73, with Alabang teammates Justin Quiban and lefty Andres Saldaña firing a 74 and 76, respectively, for 149 in the event backed by Pancake House, Nike, Golf Depot and Pacsports.

Zaragosa was in a zone from No. 13, which he birdied after pitching in from the fringe. He picked up another shot on the next hole, flying a 7-iron approach from 168 yards to within gimme distance.

But the shot of his day came on the 15th, a 532-yard par-5 which he reached in two with a 6-iron from 190 yards then gunned down a  pin-length putt. His only bogey came on No. 8, where he missed the green short and failed to rescue par from five feet.

“No, not at all,” Zaragosa answered when the Inquirer asked if he was feeling a second straight victory in two weeks. “All of those chasing me are very talented players. I need to stay focused.”

Hoey had a bad case of the colds yesterday but still managed a 34-37, while Delos Reyes lost balls off the 13th and 17th tees for a back nine 39 that clearly derailed his second round bid.

Regina De Guzman, who will spearhead the women’s Putra Cup squad, fired a 71 and caught Bianca Pagdanganan on top at 149, with Chanelle Avaricio another stroke behind after a 74.

Pagdanganan, who opened up with a 74 on Thursday, had a 75 yesterday even as Simone Hoey, Rico’s elder sister, matched par to get back in the mix, now just two down at 151.

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