Bayron wrests huge clubhouse lead with 67

Jay Bayron shot one birdie at completion of his blistering, lead-grabbing 10-under 62 early yesterday then added a 67 to keep the clubhouse lead halfway through the $100,000 ICTSI Manila Southwoods Golf Championship at the Legends course in Carmona, Cavite on Wednesday.

American John Michael O’Toole came out of another weather delay in top form, birdying three of the first six holes in a late start but fumbled with a double-bogey on the par-3 16th to round out his backside bid at 35 for a running-10-under card with nine holes to play in the second round.

That enabled Bayron to earn a provisional five-shot cushion as the Filipino veteran campaigner pooled a whopping 15-under 129 aggregate, six ahead of those with completed rounds, including Zanieboy Gialon and Finland’s Teemu Putkonen, who assembled a pair of 135s after a 68 and 69, respectively.

Jay Bayron unleashes a power drive on No. 14. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Mars Pucay sizzled with a 66 and Albin Engino fired a second 68 for 136s, sharing provisional fifth place with five others who all had running eight-under cards with several holes to play late in the day. Aussie Darren Beck was at two-under after 12 holes, last week’s PGT Asia Riviera leg winner Jobim Carlos and Grant Jackson of England had identical four-under cards after nine holes, Tim Stewart of Australia was at five-under with seven holes left and Dutch Guido Van der Valk had a three-under card heading to the backside.

The elite field sustained its attack on the Legends which yielded 48 sub-par rounds at presstime after 60 broke par in the opener of the third leg of PGT Asia Season 2 put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. where the top 50 plus ties will advance to the final 36 holes.

Michael Bibat was at seven-under overall on a four-under card after nine holes while Tony Lascuña carded a second 69 for a 138 even as Angelo Que tried to press his charge with a running three-under card for a six-under overall with six holes to play.

Robert Pactolerin, whose 65 Tuesday sparked hopes for a big week by one of the country’s golfing legends, slowed down with two-over card with six holes to play.

But it was Bayron who stood out from among those who failed to complete their first round play on account of darkness Tuesday as he birdied No. 18 to complete a 10-under 62 and edge past clubhouse leader O’Toole by one.

He then resumed his second round charge at the back and netted four birdies against a second straight bogey on No. 12 then added three more at the back and missed padding his lead with a last-hole missed green bogey.

“I had a good game today (yesterday), especially my putting. Unlike in the first round, however, I struggled with my driver and missed a couple of fairways,” said Bayron, who tied for second at ICTSI Eagle Ridge at the start of the Philippine Golf Tour season last March but struggled in the next three tournaments. He limped at 42nd at PGT Asia Luisita last April, tied for 27th at the Philippine Masters and placed joint 11th at the PGT Asia Riviera last month.

But with two near-solid rounds here, the former PGT Order of Merit winner looks forward to ending a two-year title spell in the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.

“I’ll try to get more birdies tomorrow (today) and minimize my errors (like on Nos. 9 and 12),” said Bayron.

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