Tough pin placements likewise took the best from the bidders in the $100,000 event serving as the third leg of the third season of Philippine Golf Tour Asia as the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout proved a lot tougher in blustery conditions with a number of pre-tournament favorites missing the 50-plus ties cut at 143. They included last year’s winner Jay Bayron (71-144), first leg winner at Luisita Namchok Tantipokhakul of Thailand (73-144), multi-titled Tony Lascuña (74-144) and reigning PGT Order of Merit winner Jobim Carlos (75-151).
Proving he’s a cut above the rest, Pagunsan hit three birdies at the front to tie third round joint leader Rene Menor at the helm then recovered from a bogey on No. 10 with a birdie on the 17th to match Bibat’s closing 67 and force a sudden death at 272s.
Pastor’s last feat complemented his birdie putt on the par-5 14th that checked a rollercoaster round that featured two birdies against two bogeys and an eagle against a double bogey that put the Spaniard to within reach of a dream victory on the Philippine Golf Tour after topping the PGT Q-School (foreign) at Splendido last February.
Thai Kammalas Namuangruk emerged on top of a crowded leaderboard that kept changing names up to the last putt, his run of closing even-par cards at the front preserving a two-under 68 and netting him a one-stroke lead over Michael Bibat and three others halfway through the ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge here yesterday.
Pagunsan had earlier hinted at skipping this week’s event after sweeping the Bacolod legs in Binitin and Marapara the last two weeks to take a much-needed break. But the ace Negrense made a change of heart and took the first flight from Negros to Iloilo Monday to resume his hunt for another crown.