Three players made big moves on Friday, and Frankie Miñoza battled well enough to stay in the hunt as four players will enter the final round of the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic tied for the lead with nine others lurking within five shots and with solid chances over a Marapara layout that has puzzled the field.
Guido Van der Valk and Zannie Boy Gialon fired four-under-par 66s, and Antonio Lascuña returned a 68 as the trio caught the 62-year-old Miñoza at the top at 210 after the two-day leader scrambled to shoot a 73 in blustery gusts and extreme humidity over the tree-lined layout.
Meanwhile, Chanelle Avaricio overhauled rallied from eight strokes down to rule the 54-hole ladies division, shooting a 70 to pip two-day leader Sarah Ababa by a shot. Avaricio tallied 221, with Ababa ballooning to a 79.
“I think it will all boil down to a battle in the back nine (in the final round),” Lascuña said in Filipino after he wheeled to another solid shot at a win since ruling the inaugural match play championship last year. “Iron play, putting and stamina will be huge factors.”
Stamina was something that Miñoza said could hinder his chances after a 68 on Thursday, as the legendary ace from Bukidnon had a double bogey and two of his four bogeys in the back nine.
“You really have to play extra cautious here because it’s tough, especially with the wind,” said Miñoza.
Gialon, the Caliraya Springs winner last year, was working on a six-under card going into his last two, where he signed for his two bogeys and missed taking the lead for himself.
“It was going all right until I bogeyed the last two holes,” said Gialon in Filipino. He needed to drain a 24 feet putt to save his bogey 6 on No. 18.
The veteran Jay Bayron fired a 71 and was tied with Albin Engino (72) and Rupert Zaragosa (71) at 212, with Jonel Ababa another shot behind after a 72.
Clyde Mondilla will enter the final round just four shots behind also after a 72, with a four-man group led by Marvin Dumandan (70) taking 215 tallies into the final day.