Ababa, Paez fire 68, grab Pradera lead
In-form Jhonnel Ababa shot a bogey-free four-under-par 68 on Thursday to catch American Nicolas Paez at the helm halfway through the ICTSI Pradera Verde Classic in Lubao, Pampanga.
Sustaining his backside charge in the first round where he gunned down two birdies to save a 71, Ababa hit three birdies in the same side then added a birdie on No. 5 for a spotless 35-33 card at the long Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club layout.
With a 139 total, the Davaoeño boosted his bid for a second straight crown on the Philippine Golf Tour Asia after prevailing by a record seven strokes at Eagle Ridge last week. Paez endured steamy condition to tally a 70.
Rufino Bayron and Aussie David Gleeson, who shared the first round lead with Andrew Campbell, also of Australia, and Lexus Keoninh of the United States with 68s, held sway majority of the way only to crumble at the homestretch.
Following a double-bogey on No. 5 and a bogey on his closing No. 9, Bayron tumbled with a 74 and fell to joint sixth with Gleeson, who was sidetracked by three closing bogeys at the front.
Riviera leg winner Clyde Mondilla shot another 71 and was three strokes off the new joint leaders heading to the last 36 holes of the $100,000 event serving as seventh leg of the PGTA.
Tony Lascuña rebounded from a 72 start with three birdies in the last four holes at the front to tally a 69 and a 141, putting him in joint third with American Josh Salah and Jay Bayron, who fired a 70 and 72, respectively.
Campbell dropped off the lead with a 43 start marred by a quadruple-bogey on No. 3 but put on a fiery windup of 32, spiked by an eagle on No. 12, to salvage a 75.
He slid to joint ninth at 143 with Frankie Miñoza, who also broke par with a 70.
Keoninh submitted 76 that dropped him to joint 11th at 144 with Zanieboy Gialon, James Ryan Lam and Dutch Guido Van der Valk.