Katsuragawa, Saso leave Riviera field biting dust
Japan’s Yuto Katsuragawa thrived under demanding conditions yesterday and widened an overnight two-stroke lead in the Philippine Amateur Open golf championship to five going into the final two rounds at Riviera’s wind-swept Couples layout in Silang, Cavite.
The reedy 18-year-old, the reigning Southwoods champion, birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to save a one-under-par 71 as his pursuers stumbled by the wayside one after the other.
Counting an opening 69, Katsuragawa now has a 36-hole 140 aggregate and clawed closer the biggest triumph of his young career with Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana toting a 145 after a similar 71.
Paolo Wong, who started the day just two shots adrift, skied to a triple bogey-marred 82 for 153, now 13 behind and practically needing to close out with two rounds in the mid-60s to matter on Sunday.
Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso also built a five-shot lead in women’s play after a 70 that was highlighted by a string of five straight birdies in a hot stretch in the back nine.
With a 139 tally, Saso built some cushion over Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn, who fired the best score of the day, a 69 even as defending champion Harmie Constantino fumbled with a 75 to be another two strokes behind.
Katsuragawa showed steely resolve on a day when the others struggled, recovering from a shaky start with four birdies in the back nine capped by those in two of the last three holes.
South Korea’s Joo Hyung-kim shot a 73 to be at 147, with Aniceto Mandanas shooting a 75 to be in a tie for 149 with Carl Corpus, who shot a 76. —MUSONG R. CASTILLO
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