BACOLOD – Juvic Pagunsan fired a bogey-free 66 to grab the lead by one over a hot-charging James Ryan Lam as Japanese Yudai Suzuki slipped with a 74 in the second round of the rich ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic here yesterday.
Pagunsan took his familiar spot on top with a 36-hole total of eight-under 132, a splendid performance considering that he had to attend to his ailing wife.
“It’s a day-to-day struggle. Hati pa rin ang focus ko. I just hope to do better in the last two days,” said Pagunsan, who nipped reigning Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner but absentee Jobim Carlos on the second playoff to win this event last year.
Lam, who missed the cut last week, surged into contention with a seven-birdie 64 to assume the challenger’s role at 133.
The 29-year-old Suzuki, who stunned the field with a bogey-free 64 Wednesday, slowed down with a 74, dropping four strokes in the last four holes.
Ababa, who opened with a 69, birdied four of the first seven holes, bogeyed No. 9 and hit back-to-back birdies from No. 13 to go six-under for the tournament. But a poor tee shot on the 18th led to a triple bogey and 68 for the day for solo seventh at 137.
Zanieboy Gialon, winner here in 2012, also moved into contention with a 67, pooling a 135 for joint third with Pete Vilairata of the US, who also shot a three-under card, while Japanese Ryui Hashimoto is at 136, after a 67, in a tie with Nilo Salahog, who also fired a 67.
At least five players are within four strokes off the pace with 36 holes to play in the P3-million event sponsored by ICTSI.
Jay Bayron and Gerald Rosales also turned in identical 67s to join the big group of two-under overall scorers at 138, who included Englishman George Twyman (68), Michael Bibat, Aussie David Gleeson and Japanese Kei Matsuoka, who all carded 69s, Richard Sinfuego and Cebu leg winner Guido Van der Valk, who groped for similar 72s, and Suzuki.
Forty seven pla-yers made the cut pegged at three-over 143 with Johvanie Abaño (69), Ira Alido (74), Jun Bernis (71), Mhark Fernando (69) and Tony Lascuña (74) among those who grabbed the last berths.