Van der Valk wrests TCC lead after a 74
STA. ROSA, Laguna—Playing steady in the face of conditions becoming more difficult by the day, Dutchman Guido Van der Valk on Wednesday fired a two-over-par 74 to take a one-shot lead halfway through the P6 million The Country Club Invitational.
After dropping four shots in an eight-hole stretch from No. 9, the defending champion Van der Valk birdied the tough 18th from five feet after a 5-wood approach from 205 yards against the heavy wind to take the lead by his lonesome with Clyde Mondilla remaining hot on his heels after a 75.
“I hit it pretty good,” Van der Valk said after his 36-38 effort that also had a birdie on the par-5 second hole for a 147 aggregate. “But I wasn’t really able to convert on a lot of eight-footers (for par).”
Starting the day in a four-way tie at the top, Mondilla had a double bogey and three bogeys against just two birdies for 148, still within range of winning this tournament for the first time.
Jay Bayron and Jessie Balasabas, the other two who fired 73s on opening day to share the pace, also lost ground as Bayron fired a 76 to be another shot behind, now tied with Zanieboy Gialon and a former champion in Micah Shin, who matched level 72s—the best for the week thus far.
Balasabas, the former PH Masters champion at Villamor, skied to a birdie-less 78 to be four shots behind.