Zaragosa zooms ahead by 7 shots

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TRECE Martirez, Cavite—Rupert Zaragosa talked with a lot of caution with a three-shot lead Friday. After a third round six-under-par 66 yesterday, the pint-sized Canlubang ace now admits he’s close to completing his collection of national titles.

“In a way, yes,” Zaragosa said when asked if he could smell a victory in the NGAP’s Philippine Amateur Closed championship after pulling away by seven strokes following a second straight eagle-spiked round at Sherwood Hills here.

“But I would still have to play well in the final round (today),” added the 15-year-old. “I can’t take my pursuers for granted, they’re all very talented. I can’t take the golf course for granted. I need to play well, still.”

Zaragosa gunned down six birdies and an eagle in his first 16 holes  before stumbling with two closing bogeys to settle for a 206 aggregate, seven shots ahead of Fil-American Rico Hoey, who assembled a 70, in the event presented by the MVP Sports Foundation as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.

A lip-out for par from about four feet on the 17th and a three-putt on the final green prevented the crack amateur Zaragosa from equaling the course record of 64 set by young pro Miguel Tabuena a few months back in the ICTSI Tour.

Lloyd Jefferson Go, the Cebu Country Club star in the PAL Interclub, zoomed to third after a 71, but still trailed by  13 strokes. Two off Go was Jonathan Delos Reyes, the second Fil-American recruited by the NGAP for the Putra Cup, who fired a 73.

Jobim Carlos, the fourth member of the PH team, stumbled with a 76 and was tied with lefty Andres Saldana, who fired a 75, at 224, a stroke behind Basti Lorenzo, a junior team candidate who matched par.

Bianca Pagdanganan regained control in women’s play after assembling a 70 for a three-stroke lead over Regina De Guzman at 219. De Guzman, who will spearhead the women’s Putra Cup team together with Simone Hoey, fired a 73. Hoey fired a 75 to trail by seven shots in the event also backed by Pancake House, Nike, Golf Depot and Pacsports.

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