Ababa takes control of bunched-up leaderboard
LOCAL GOLF

Ababa takes control of bunched-up leaderboard

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 05:15 AM March 14, 2024

Jonel Ababa wants separation from his pursuers after the third round.

Jhonnel Ababa | PHOTO: Official Facebook page of the Philippine Golf Tour

Jonel Ababa did what needed to be done at the halfway point of the P2.5 million ICTSI Golf Classic on Wednesday. And knowing the tree-lined layout so well, the Davao native also knows what needs to be done in the third round.

“[Thursday’s third round] will be crucial,” Ababa said after returning a two-under-par 70 to wrest a one-shot lead over South Korea’s Gwon Min-wook with a horde of pursuers being just four, five shots behind. “I need to build on that lead so that I don’t get left behind on the final day.”

Ababa wasn’t the only Apo product to make a second round move, as the ailing Antonio Lascuña and Jay Bayron returned a 70 and 72 to be two and three shots behind, respectively. Joint first round leader Kakeru Ozeki of Japan and Zanieboy Gialon fired a 74 and 73, respectively, to be in the company of Bayron.

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“I was only able to recover. I hit it bad at the start,” Ababa said after gunning down three of his five birdies inside his final six holes capped by a 20-footer on the final hole for a 143 aggregate.

Debuting pro

Meanwhile, Mafy Singson, playing her first tournament as a pro on a course she calls home, drained all of her four birdies in a six-hole stretch from No. 13 to rescue a level 72 and grab a two-shot lead in the ladies side of the event organized by the Philippine Golf Tour (PGT) that concludes on Thursday.

“This is my home course, so I obviously want to do well,” Singson said after stringing together three straight birdies from the 13th for a 145 tally that dislodged another Apo product, Sarah Ababa, at the top.

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Ababa fired a 75 even as Mikha Fortuna returned a 76 to be another stroke behind.

Apo showed just how tough it is playing as the 36-hole cut in the men’s event was pegged at 10-over 154, which Qualifying School topnotcher Aidric Chan made on the dot after a 75 to be at the tail end of a 41-man field that made it to the final two days.

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Kristoffer Arevalo, the former national team member who skied to an opening 79, waltzed into solid contention after turning in a week-best 68 to be just four strokes off the pace, even as ex-Philippine Open champion Clyde Mondilla rebounded with a 73 to remain mathematically in contention at 150.

Edmar Salvador Jr., who held a piece of the first round lead with Ozeki, struggled to a 75 to join Arevalo and The Netherlands’ Guido van der Valk, the two-time The Country Club champion who matched par.

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TAGS: ICTSI, Jonel Ababa

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