THE BEAST known as Wack Wack East befuddled the talented Solaire Open field yesterday and triggered a shakeup in the leaderboard that left four foreigners sharing a one-stroke lead after 36 holes.
And American Dodge Kemmer, the hottest player in the first round, was not among them. He came down to earth with a big thud.
When the massive overhaul ended, Elmer Salvador stood as the top Filipino contender by gutting out one of the day’s best round—a 3-under-par 69—at the heavily wooded layout to trail the leaders by a shot.
Thailand’s Thammanoon Sriroj, a five-time Asian Tour winner, and Kwanchai Tannin fired a 69 and a 71, respectively, to share top spot at 142 with Australian Matt Jager and Taiwanese veteran Lin Wen-tang.
Jager returned a level 72 and Lin had a 73 marked by six birdies and seven bogeys.
“Today was really difficult, the wind might have changed on us five or six times,” Jager said. “With the conditions like that, the course plays a little bit harder.”
Salvador, the taciturn Davao native who has never won an event this big, gunned down five birdies against two missed green bogeys and vaulted into contention at 143 after an opening 74.
He was deadlocked with Korean Kim Gi-wan and Richard Lee of Canada, who both carded 71s, and Thai Pawin Ingkhapradit, who added a 75 to a 68.
“My putting and pitching around the greens saved my round,” the 43-year-old Salvador said in Filipino.
Kemmer, who had bogey-less opening round of 66, couldn’t buy a bird this time while taking seven bogeys. The 25-year-old Q-School graduate slipped to 145.
Angelo Que, the 2008 PH Open champ, also at Wack Wack, also floundered on his closing holes, dropping two shots each on Nos. 7 and 8, to return a 77 for 149.
Meanwhile, Juvic Pagunsan, who matched par on Thursday, didn’t show up for the second round, phoning organizers he had to attend to his pregnant wife.
Also bowing out of the tournament was Frankie Miñoza, the Filipino legend who fired a second round 78 for 155, four strokes off the cut line.
Mardan Mamat of Singapore, the reigning PH Open champ, made the cut on the dot with 75 for 151—the highest cutoff mark on the Asian Tour this season.
Six players were at level 144 counting Fil-Am Carl Santos-Ocampo, who scored another 72, and the celebrated Japanese Tetsuji Hiratsuka, who fired a 73.
Teener Miguel Tabuena was another stroke back in the company of Kemmer after assembling a 73, with Mars Pucay, the scrappy Filipino veteran, ballooning to a 76 after firing a 69, the best by a local on Thursday.
The scores (Filipino unless stated): 142—T. Sriroj (THA) 73-69, K. Tannin (THA) 71-71, M. Jager (AUS) 70-72, L. Wen-tang (TPE) 69-73; 143—K. Gi-whan (KOR) 72-71, R. T. Lee (Can) 72-71, E. Salvador 74-69, P. Ingkhapradit (THA) 68-75; 144—T. Hiratsuka (JPN) 71-73, G. Charoenkul (THA) 73-71, U. Park (Aus) 73-71, C. Santos-Ocampo 72-72, P. Muenlek (THA) 74-70, R. Gangjee (IND) 75-69; 145—Y. Tsukada (JPN) 72-73, D. Kataoka (JPN) 70-75, M. Tabuena 73-72, D. Kemmer (USA) 66-79, M. Pucay 69-76, J. Higginbottom (Aus) 74-71; 146—H. Mong-nan (TPE) 74-72, P. Karmis (RSA) 73-73, S. Supupramai (THA) 75-71, T. Khrongpha (THA) 72-74, C. Phadungsil (THA) 75-71, J. Bayron 74-72, S. Cyr (USA) 76-70, C. Tze Huang (Sin) 76-70; 147—C. Plaphol (THA) 72-75, C. Yih-shin (TPE) 75-72, S. Griffiths (ENG) 72-75, P. Pittayarat (THA) 75-72, A. Lohan (IND) 76-71, C. Rodgers (ENG) 73-74, S. Hussin (MAS) 73-74, R. Hie (INA) 72-75; 148—Z. Moe (MYA) 74-74, D. Chia (MAS) 72-76, M. Tunnicliff (ENG) 77-71, W. Jueng-hun (KOR) 72-76, M. Hu (CHN) 74-74, M. Joong-kyung (KOR) 71-77, S. Brazel (Aus) 73-75;