Co-leaders still tied with 18 holes left
ANTIPOLO?Elmer Salvador and Mars Pucay, crack talents with contrasting fortunes on local soil of late, churned out 3-under-par 69s Thursday to stay tied for the lead going into the final 18 holes of the ICTSI-Forest Hills Challenge here.
Pucay, who can?t remember the last time he won a local title, mixed four birdies with a bogey, while Salvador gunned down an eagle and three birdies to offset two bogeys as both posted 139 totals after 36 holes at the composite Nicklaus and Palmer nines.
?I guess it?s about time that I win again, because I honestly cannot remember the last time (I won),? said Pucay, whose last victory came in a Thailand Tour leg in Lamchabang last year.
The winningest man on the local tour, Salvador played a lot steadier in an afternoon flight.
Salvador, the reigning Philippine Open champion who won the Malarayat leg three months ago, hit a 3-iron from 230 yards to within driver-length for his eagle 3 on the 16th to highlight his 34-35 card.
?I will just play my game (today) and not force anything,? Salvador told the Inquirer in Filipino. ?Pressure? I don?t feel it anymore.?
The Salvador-Pucay duel for the title was assured with Artemio Murakami and the veteran Benjie Magada trailing by four at 143 after a 70 and 71, respectively.
Elmer Saban, fresh off a Top 10 finish at the Riviera stop last week, fired a 71 for 144 even as Ramil Bisera carved out the lowest round of the day?a 68?to zoom to a sixth-place tie with Antonio Lascuña and Chris delos Santos at 145.
Lascuña had a 72, while Delos Santos fired a 71.
Defending champion Jay Bayron kissed his repeat bid adieu with a 75 for 147, in a tie with younger brother Rufino.
Among those who missed the cut at 11-over 156 were Sherwood Hills winner Marvin Dumandan and former The Country Club champ Jerome Delariarte.
Dumandan added a 77 to an 80 Wednesday for 157, while Delariarte, who has country exempt status in the Asian Tour, fired two 79s for 158.
The scores (after 36 holes)
139?M. Pucay 70-69, E. Salvador 70-69; 143?B. Magada 72-71, A. Murakami 73-70; 145?R. Bisera 77-68, C. Delos Santos 74-71, T. Lascuna 73-72; 146?F. Aunzo 75-71, R. Sinfuego 73-73, A. Asistio II 73-73; 147?J. Bayron 72-75, R. Bayron 72-75; 149?C. Casas 78-71, D. Zarate 77-72; 150?A. Fernando 77-73, J. Rates 75-75, E. Quiachon 71-79; 151?O. Dungca 78-73, R. Sasutil 78-73, G. Bondoc 75-76, R. Pactolerin 75-76, J. Pepito 74-77, G. Rosales 72-79; 152?E. Arcillas 79-73; 153?Ron. Pactolerin 79-74, E. Vinluan 79-74, R. Marabe 78-75, R. Glimada 76-77; 154?E. Ababa 80-74, R. Depilo 78-76, M. Yee (Am) 77-77, D. Sanchez 77-77, O. Sumcad 77-77, D. Becierra (Am) 76-78; 155?M. Bibat 80-75, J. Plete 78-77, B. Sumampong (Am) 78-77, M. Dizon 77-78, C. La?O 77-78; 156?R. Bernis Jr. 80-76, I. Raymundo (Am) 77-79, R. Pagunsan 77-79, J. Laput 77-79, R. Garalde 77-79