Casas stays ahead by 1 over Salvador
Cassius Casas fired a two-under-par 70 Wednesday to keep the lead by a stroke over new pursuer Elmer Salvador after the halfway mark of the P3.5 million ICTSI Manila Masters at Eastridge in Binangonan, Rizal.
Counting his opening 65, Casas, the former Philippine Open champion seeking his first win since topping The Country Club Invitational last February, now has a 135 aggregate with Salvador in second after a 66.
Salvador, who won practically an all-Filipino version of the Open in 2009 at Malarayat, gunned down seven birdies to blow into contention even as Mark Fernando also carded a 70 to stay two shots off the pace.
The fancied Antonio Lascuña, still weak after a bout with fever last week, shot a 70 for 138 while the young Miguel Tabuena lost ground after shooting a 74 for 140.
Anthony Fernando, Jonel Ababa and the reedy Benjie Magada were all at 141 after a 71, 71 and 72, respectively, with club bet Ferdie Aunzo finally making his presence felt by carding a 69 for 143.
Ryan Lam, who shot a 74, and Jay Bayron, who fared worse with a 75, were tied with Aunzo and were the last one holding sub-par totals going into the final two days as the up-and-down layout played a lot tougher.
“I missed some chances because of poor putting,” the 47-year-old Casas said in Filipino. “I thought I couldn’t play today (in the second round),” said Lascuña in Filipino.
Lascuña has won the Order of Merit title for the last two years and is again leading the race after two victories this season.
Angelo Que shot himself in the foot with a 40 in the front nine on the way to a 74 for 144, falling into the company of Anthony Fernando, Dante Becierra (73), Carl Santos-Ocampo (75), and Jessie Balasabas (73).
Charles Hong, winner of the circuit’s first P3.5 million event at ICTSI Sherwood last April, skied to a 77 for a 150 and missed the cut with Frankie Minoza who failed to recover from an opening 77 with a 75.
The other backers of the event are Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, FootJoy, It’s More Fun in the Philippines, Callaway, Mizuno, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Sharp and KZG with Balls Channel, Inquirer Golf and ABS-CBN Sports+Action as media partners.