Wack Wack East bared its teeth Wednesday and spared just a few, with Singaporean Jerome Ng coming out virtually unscathed to fire a two-over-par 74 and grab a two-shot lead over Rupert Zaragosa after 54 holes of the MVP Sports Foundation-Philippine Amateur Open golf championship.
Ng was steadiest on a day of ballooning scores, signing for just two bogeys when most in the leaderboard struggled to break 80, as he takes a 225 aggregate into the final 18 holes of the centerpiece event of the PLDT Group Philippine Amateur Tour leg.
“Conditions today were very tough,” Ng, a 24-year-old who has become the Singaporean national team spearhead after the graduation of Quincy Qwek and Choo Tze Hwang to the pros, said. “You just have to be really careful out there.”
Zaragosa couldn’t find a shade of the form that made him shoot 73 and 74 in the first two days, his birdie-less round littered by eight bogeys as he found a hard time hitting the greens with errant approaches.
Andres Saldana was one of those who was able to hold it together, firing a 75 for 229 like Jong Sang-in, the young Korean expatriate who started the day one behind Zaragosa but shot a third round 81 to be five off the pace in the event backed by Pancake House, Titleist, Golf Depot, Pacsports and Autohub, the official transport service provider.
While the men’s championship remained in the balance, veteran internationalist Dottie Ardina practically put the women’s crown in the bag after matching par and zooming to a seven-stroke lead also going into the final 18 holes today.
The top ICTSI-The Country Club bet now has a 142 tally counting an opening round 70 as Mia Legaspi assumed second spot with a 74.
Jayvie Agojo, who started the day four behind Ardina, skied to an 81 and kissed her hopes goodbye, now running sixth at 155 together with Malaysian Nur Durriyah, who fired a 78.
Felicia Medalla was third also after a 72 for 151 while Singapore’s Sock Hwee Koh returned a 75 to catch Princess Superal in fourth at 153. Superal shot a 77.
Zaragosa, the 15-year-old who birdied the 18th in the two previous rounds, headed straight to the driving range and was trying to correct his flaws with father-coach Boyet when darkness came, still optimistic of his chances.
Jobim Carlos owned the third and last 74–the best for the day–to put himself in contention for a decent finish and maybe an outside shot of winning with a 233 like Justin Quiban, who shot a 76.
George Foo, tied with Ng at the start of the day, finished double bogey-double bogey and signed for an 84 to bow out of it all with a 235 aggregate.
The leading scores:
(Filipino unless stated)
Men’s: 225–J. Ng (Sin) 78-73-74; 227–R. Zaragosa 73-74-80; 229–A. Saldana 76-78-75, JS-In (Kor) 73-75-81; 230–m. Razif (Mal) 76-76-78; 231–M. Ong (Sin) 80-73-78; 233–J. Carlos 82-77-74, J. Quiban 80-77-76; 234–J. Abdon 79-75-80; 235–G. Nagai 75-82-78, G. Foo (Sin) 77-74-84, J. Austria 75-78-82.
Women’s: 142–A. Ardina 70-72; 149–M. Legaspi 75-74; 151–F. Medalla 79-72; 153–SH Kho (Sin) 78-75, P. Superal 76-77; 155–B. Damian (Mal) 77-78, J. Agojo 74-81; `156–S. Chabon 81-75.