TRECE MARTIREZ, Cavite—With the rest of the team finally clicking and with Jonathan Delos Reyes continuing to be as hot as the weather here, Team Philippines yesterday zoomed to a nine-stroke lead halfway through the 53rd playing of the Putra Cup.
Counting three sub-par scores led by Delos Reyes’ three-under 69, the Filipinos shot a six-under 210 and easily wriggled out of an overnight tie with Singapore for a nine-shot lead over Malaysia going into the final 36 holes of Southeast Asia’s official golf team championship at Sherwood Hills.
So efficient were the Filipinos they actually threw away a respectable 73 by national champion Rupert Zaragosa. Rico Hoey atoned for an atrocious first round with a 70 and Jobim Carlos fired a 71 after birdying the 18th for the second straight day as the hosts put together a two-day total of 423.
Gavin Green was locked in a heated battle with Delos Reyes, shooting a 68 to propel Malaysia to 214 and 432, even as Singapore, which pooled 222 built around the 71 of Nicklaus Chiam, dropped to third, another three shots behind.
“We’re doing well, obviously, even while we’re still waiting for Rupert (Zaragosa to have a big round),” nonplaying captain Carito Villaroman told the Inquirer. “The boys will have to come out (for the third round) with the mindset that we’re starting from scratch.”
Abel Tam shot a 71 and Albright Chong carded a 75 to complete the scoring for the Malaysians.
John Woo had a 75 and Jerome Ng a 76 for the suddenly cold Singaporeans, the 2011 champions in Hong Kong and runner-up to Thailand last year.
The Thais drifted 15 shots off the pace after a lethargic 221 that saw none of their players cracking par. Danthai Boonma’s 72 paced Thailand.
The Filipinos accounted for two eagles for the day, with Delos Reyes getting his on the par-5 eighth and Hoey nailing a curling 30-foot putt on the fifth after getting on the green in two with a hybrid club from over 240 yards.
Carlos was at 1-over heading into his last four holes before picking up a shot on the par-5 15th, which he reached in two, and then hitting a beautiful wedge into the 18th to within putter length.
Zaragosa, the 15-year-old PH spearhead, had it at 3-under after eight holes only to double bogey the par-4 ninth.
Delos Reyes, who opened up with a 66 on Thursday and now leads Green in the individual race by three with a 135, actually bogeyed the 18th after missing the green.
“We have to stick to our game plan (for the weekend) and we’ll be all right,” said the 19-year-old Delos Reyes, an incoming junior in business studies at St. Mary’s in California.
The Philippines also remained in solid contention in the Santi Cup (Women) and the Kartina Cup (Junior Women).
Katrina Briones fired a 72 and Regina De Guzman shot a 76 for 148 and 298, to trail joint leaders Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore by two shots.
Princess Superal fired a 73 and either of Bianca Pagdanganan and Pauline Del Rosario’s 75 counted as the second score for the Filipinas in the Kartini Cup as they stayed within a shot of Thailand at 292.
The 72-hole championship is being backed by the Royal & Ancient of Scotland, MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Amateur Golf Tour, PSC, POC, Philippine Golf Foundation, DOT, Pancake House, Asia Brewery, Turf Company, Sligo, Ping, Intramachineries Doosan, Suntrust, Crimson Hotel and Golf Depot.