Manila, May 29: Philippines’ Charles Hong made it a day to remember by sharing the second round clubhouse lead with fellow compatriots Albin Engino and Robert Pactolerin after signing for a flawless four-under-par 67 at the weather-disrupted ICTSI Riviera Classic on Thursday.
Inclement weather caused almost three hours of play to be lost at the US$60,000 Asian Tour Development (ADT) event and 21 players will now have to return at 6.30am (local time) to complete their second round on Friday.
Young Filipino prospect, Miguel Tabuena, who has been touted as one of the future stars of the game on the Asian Tour, trailed the leaders by one after he bettered his opening day performance by three shots with a 68.
Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert, a one-time ADT winner was tied for fourth alongside Tabuena, Michael Bibat and Elmer Salvador of the Philippines and England’s Peter Richardson at the inaugural event which is the sixth stop on the ADT.
The day truly belonged to Hong after a measured game plan eventually rewarded him with prime position atop the leaderboard at the Riviera Golf and Country Club.
After posting an unconvincing 71 in the first round, Hong negotiated the 6,916 yards par 71 course with caution before signing for a two-day total of four-under-par 138.
“I was very careful today and told myself not to make any more bogeys after dropping four shots yesterday. I’m really happy to have stayed bogey-free today,” said Hong, who marked his card with birdies on holes five, 10, 16 and 17.
Hong, who is currently second on the domestic merit rankings, is eyeing further improvements as he progresses into his last 36 holes.
“I feel I’ve become a better player since I started playing on the ADT in 2012. My best result was a third-place finish in Sarawak, Malaysia in 2012 and hopefully I can do better than that this week,” said Hong.
Meanwhile the lengthy play suspension proved timely and a blessing in disguise for Tabuena.
The 19-year-old parred his opening hole and bogeyed the next before the sirens went off.
The wait allowed Tabeuna to refocus on his game and it did wonders as he came back strongly with four birdies on eight, 10, 11 and 15.
“It was a good wait. Actually, I was glad the sirens went off as it gave me time to think about my game especially after I had bogeyed the second hole. It worked out well in the end and I’m looking forward to the next two rounds,” said Tabuena, who first broke onto the scene as a 16-year-old amateur at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2011.
“I couldn’t get a practice round in on Monday as the course was washed out. So I had to play the course blindly yesterday. It was definitely a better round today as the greens were rolling well especially after the rain and I was able to attack the pins,” added Tabuena.
The ADT, which was launched in 2010 with five tournaments before growing to eight in 2011, 13 in 2012 and a record 16 in the 2013 season, has established itself as a gateway to the Asian Tour.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Completed leading second round scores
138- Albin ENGINO (PHI) 69-69, Charles HONG (PHI) 71-67, Robert PACTOLERIN (PHI) 69-69
139- Michael BIBAT (PHI) 69-70, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 71-68, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA)72-67, Peter RICHARDSON (ENG) 71-68, Elmer SALVADOR (PHI) 69-70
140- Reynaldo PAGUNSAN (PHI) 70-70
141- Grant JACKSON (ENG) 68-73, Nils FLOREN (SWE) 68-73, Tomokazu YOSHINAGA (JPN) 72-69
Source: Asian Tour