Mars Pucay moved within 18 holes away from ending a long slump on the local tour while Davao’s Elmer
Salvador poised himself to keep his winning ways as they fired identical 69s to remain tied at helm in the second round of the ICTSI Forest Hills Championship at the Forest Hills golf course in Antipolo, May 27.
Pucay, who charged home with an eagle-spiked 70 to gain a share of the first round lead with Elmer Salvador,
sustained his top form by ramming in four birdies, including a tap-in on the par-5 16 which he eagled Wednesday, to negate his lone bogey mishap on No. 4 in one of the early morning flights.
The former national champion wound up with a 34-35 round and assembled a 36-hole aggregate of five-under
139, which Salvador later matched behind an eagle-aided 69 that set up a duel for the top P200,000 purse between players shooting for a second win in four legs and trying to snap a long title drought.
“I need to shoot a 68 tomorrow(Friday) to beat Mars,” said the soft-spoken Salvador, who racked up three
victories last year, including the Philippine Open and two legs on the revival of the local circuit put up by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
He also ruled the kickoff leg of this year’s tour at Mt. Malarayat.
But while Salvador is on a roll, Pucay is out to end a long spell.
“It’s been awhile since I won a local title so I’m looking forward to tomorrow (Friday),” said the 39-year-old Pucay, a veteran campaigner in the Asian Tour and the Mercedes Benz tour.
Pucay, a two-time World Cup veteran, last won in the 2009 Laem Chabang Championship in Thailand and finished
joint 12th in last week’s ICTSI-Riviera Classic.
He actually posted two victories on the Mercedes Tour in 2007, winning in Vietnam and at Mt. Malarayat
but has had a winless campaign on local soil the last few years, including in last year’s 10-leg circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments.
He missed another eagle bid on the second hole but came through with a pair of long putts (30 feet) on Nos. 6
and 8 to get his title bid going in the P1 million event backed by MJ Carr Golf Management, Jaguar, Land Rover, Studio 23, Balls TV, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, Callaway Golf, Odyssey, Golf Punk, Business Mirror, Inquirer Golf Monthly, A
Round of Golf, Pinoygolfer.com and Omnisource.
The leading duo stayed four shots clear of third running Artemio Murakami (70) and Benjie Magada (71), who
both had 143, while Elmer Saban stood at 144 after a 71.
Ramil Bicera shot the day’s best score of four-under 68 to tie Christopher delos Santos, firing a 71, and Tony Lascuna, who had a 72, at 145, while Ferdie Aunzo, winner of the ICTSI-Royal Northwoods Classic last year, also shot a 71 to tie veteran Richard Sinfeugo (73) and rookie pro Antonio Asistio II (73) at 146.
Defending champion Jay Bayron and brother Rufino Bayron both carded 75s and dropped to 147.
Cassius Casas, winner of the pro-am event with amateur partners Rannie Carlos, Tonton San Diego and Alvin Buenaventura, bounced back from a disastrous 78 with a one-under 71 to be at 149 while Anthony Fernando (73), Joenard Rates (75) and Ebarra Quiachon (79) stood at 150.(pr)