Vintage Miñoza catches leaders
RECALLING the form that made him the country’s foremost pro until the last few years, Frankie Miñoza fired a seven-under-par 63 yesterday to force a three-way tie for the lead with Miguel Tabuena and Dutchman Guido Van Der Valk heading into the final round of the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic.
The 54-year-old Miñoza gunned down eight birdies on nines of 30-33 for the tournament’s best round as he stole the thunder from Tabuena and the steady Van Der Valk.
The trio is deadlocked at 198 over the tree-lined layout formerly known as Marapara.
Tabuena mixed seven birdies against two bogeys in a round of 65, while Van Der Valk, a long-time Philippine resident, submitted a 66 and stayed solidly on course for a breakthrough on the local tour.
Joenard Rates fired a 64 and moved within a shot of the lead like Micah Shin, who shot a 66, with Jay Bayron carding a 68 to be two off going into the last 18 holes.
Second-round leader Clyde Mondilla played the first 10 holes at 5-over before rescuing a 73. He lay five shots adrift at 203 like journeyman Arnold Villacencio, who fired a 64.
Miñoza’s performance was easily his best in the last two seasons of the local tour.
The owner of 24 career titles, Miñoza’s last win on local soil came in 2013, when he ruled the rich The Country Club Invitational while also winning at the tour’s Pueblo de Oro and Del Monte stops.
It was also that year when Miñoza last won internationally as he bagged his third Japan Senior Tour title at the ISPS Handa Cup.
He would have to turn back the country’s biggest talent now in Tabuena, who is priming up for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next month, and Van Der Valk, who is out to redeem himself from a recent playoff loss to Tony Lascuña at nearby Binitin in Murcia.