Rates seizes JH lead by a stroke
Joenard Rates fired an eight-under-par 60 yesterday to take a one-shot lead over Frankie Miñoza and Jay Bayron after 36 holes of the ICTSI John Hay Championship in chilly Baguio.
Rates, whose best finish as a pro was third also in this tournament two years ago, signed for a 32-28 card over the up-and-down layout for an 11-under 125 tally, making the most out of the inability of the fancied bets to go really low for the second straight day.
Miñoza, the ageless wonder from Bukidnon, shot a 65 and Bayron, seeking a repeat win and a second straight title, carded a 63 to share second at 126.
After firing nine birdies in a 61 Wednesday, Miñoza had just three against a bogey yesterday, while Bayron fired four of his six birds at the back nine for a 34-29 card.
Antonio Lascuña was four shots off the lead after a 64, even as Angelo Que fired a 63 to catch four players at 130, including Canadian Rick Gibson, the 2002 Philippine Open champion who churned out a 67.
Rates made the most out of two lucky breaks, draining birdies off two shots that hit trees.
On the par-3 sixth his tee a ricochet of a shot landed on the green. On the par-5 17th, Rates’ second shot also hit a tree that left him no choice but to punch out.
Left with a 220-yard approach, Rates hit a gem of a rescue shot that stopped within 12 feet of the cup for a birdie, one of nine he had for the day.
“I was really lucky today,” said Rates, who led the rich The Country Club Invitational after the first round several years back only to fade in the last three rounds.
Rates, who closed out with three straight birdies, took his only bogey on the par-4 fifth hole.
Elmer Salvador was the third former Open champion at 130 after Que and Gibson after a 66. Anthony Fernando and Jonel Ababa were the other members of the group after shooting a 67 and 66, respectively.
The long-hitting Orlan Sumcad fired a 62 to lead a big group at 131, which counted Miguel Tabuena, who fired a 64, Cassius Casas, who signed for a 65 and Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski who matched par.
“It will all boil down to putting (in the last two rounds),” the unassuming Bayron, who rallied to win from nine shots down in the final round at Splendido in Tagaytay last Sunday, said. Musong R. Castillo
Event sponsor: ICTSI; Supporters: Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp, FootJoy; Media partners: Balls TV, ABS-CBN.