Nakajima pads WW lead to 3
Japan’s Toru Nakajima used a hot front nine to cushion a wobbly finish yesterday, salvaging a 1-under-par 71 to build a three-stroke lead over Elmer Salvador and rookie Micah Shin halfway through the P2.5 million ICTSI Wack Wack Championship at the East course in Mandaluyong.
Nakajima, who finished second to Dutchman Guido Van Der Valk in Q School, finished bogey-par-bogey after a front nine 33 for a 140 aggregate over the tree-lined layout.
Salvador, the former Philippine Open champion, carded a roller-coaster 70, while Shin also had a 71 for 143s as both made it to the final flight today with the Japan Tour veteran who is leading an ICTSI tournament for the first time.
The old layout, the home of the PH Open, played tough for the second straight day and wrecked the chances of many, including teen prodigy Miguel Tabuena, who made the 11-over 155 cut on the dot after shooting a birdie-less 78.
Ferdie Aunzo, who started the day just a shot off Nakajima after an opening 70, didn’t survive the onslaught, firing a horrific even-bogey 45 at the front before signing for an 89 which could go down as his worst round as a pro.
Charles Hong, the prohibitive favorite here as the best Filipino finisher in the Asian Tour’s Resorts World Manila Masters last week at joint ninth, struggled to a 76 to be at 151, 11 shots off the pace and needing a super low round today to contend in the final round.
Moving into contention, on the other hand, were Michael Bibat, Jay Bayron and Cassius Casas, the last to crack par and all be at 144.
Bibat, the former Asian Games bronze medalist who won his first pro tournament earlier this year, fired a 69, while Bayron shot a 70 and Casas a 71.
Benjie Magada and Mark Fernando stood at 145 after shooting a 72 and a 74, respectively, while Jonel Ababa matched par and caught Elmer Saban and Mars Pucay at 147.
Saban, also a leg winner this year, fired a 75, while Pucay, who also opened up with a 70, skied to a 77.