GEN. TRIAS, Cavite – Elmer Salvador charged back from a backside struggle with a birdie binge at the front but stumbled with a late bogey for a 72, enabling Jhonnel Ababa to gain a share of the lead halfway through the rich ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational at the Aoki course here yesterday.
Salvador, hounded by poor putting at the back where he teed off, actually fell off the leaderboard with a two-over card after 11 holes but gunned down three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 3 to regain control, only to reel back with a missed green bogey on the eighth for a 35-37 card.
Ababa also wavered at the finish with a bogey on No. 18 after a tap-in birdie on the 17th in an earlier flight, finishing with a 71 and joining fellow Davaoeño Salvador at 139, two strokes ahead of a charging Justin Quiban, who rebounded from a mediocre opening 72 with a three-under 69 for a 141 heading to the last 36 holes of the $100,000 championship sponsored by ICTSI and serving as the sixth leg of the Philippine Golf Tour Asia.
A slew of others stood a stroke or two behind, including the best of the young and the old, guaranteeing a spirited battle for the top $17,500 purse and ranking points in the region’s newest circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.