by Waylon Galvez
STA. ROSA, LAGUNA — Clyde Mondilla showed steely nerves yesterday, firing a three-under 69 to take a four-shot lead going into the final 18 holes of the 101st Solaire Philippine Open at The Country Club here.
While Mondilla had an ominous start – bogeying the first hole after missing a six-foot par putt – he recovered remarkably even as second-round leader Thai Tawit Polthai struggled big time, bogeying four of his first seven holes.
The native of Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon birdied the second hole from six feet and gunned down another on the 7th to overtake Polthai.
Mondilla could have done better if not for a missed eagle putt on the 14th.
Then came his best shot for the day – on the 17th that saw him drain a long putt from 15 feet on 17 that moved him at one under in the $500,000 tournament.
Mondilla saved par on the 18th when his second shot off the bunker 100 yards from the pin landed just 6 feet from the hole for a one under 215 score entering the final round.
Polthai was four down after a 76 (219) but was five shots ahead over two other Thais, Namchock Tantipokhakul and Nirun Sae Ueng both at 220.
“After mag-bogey inisip ko kaagad bawi lang. Then birdie sa 2, ginanahan, bumalik yung confidence. Then birdie uli sa 7,” said Mondilla, who is now in the position on winning his first Philippine Open.