American ace catches Stewart at the helm
TARLAC—American Lexus Keoninh unleashed superb iron play and solid putting for a solid seven-under 65 then watched Aussie Tim Stewart fumble with a late bogey to grab a share of the lead halfway through the ICTSI Azucarera de Tarlac Open at Luisita Golf and Country Club here Thursday.
The duo virtually slugged it out shot for shot and putt for putt in separate flights in afternoon play with Keoninh emerging from the day-long battle with six birdies, including three straight from No. 11, to get to 10-under 134 first, after an opening 69.
“I hit it close and made a lot of putts,” said Keoninh, who has had a number of cracks at a championship on both the Philippine Golf Tour and PGT Asia but just couldn’t pull it off in the end.
Stewart had his own birdie binge, seven in all against a lone bogey after 15 holes. But the long-hitting shotmaker bogeyed Luisita’s signature No. 17 and settled for a 67 and a share of the lead.
The duo stood three strokes ahead of PGT Cebu leg titlist Dutch Guido Van der Valk and reigning Philippine Open champion Clyde Mondilla.