ANTIPOLO CITY — Reymon Jaraula dealt with Ira Alido’s unceasing jab and Clyde Mondilla’s searing strike with the poise of a seasoned campaigner, coming away of the third-round skirmish unscathed and still on top by two with a 72 to zero in on the ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge crown here yesterday.
The Del Monte did pull away by five shots with a solid frontside 34 but bogeys on Nos. 10 and 18 enabled Alido, who endured a wild five-birdie, five-bogey round for his version of an even-par round at Valley South, and a charging Mondilla, who turned in a second straight 69 highlighted by an eagle on No. 7 for the second straight day, to set the stage for a furious chase for the crown worth P360,000.
“I made a good start but I struggled with my putting again at the back and missed a number of (birdie) chances,” said Jaraula, whose even-par round and a nine-under 207 aggregate moved him 18 holes away from posting his second career victory.
“I think I need to shoot a three-under to win (again),” added Jaraula, hoping to find his (putting) touch in his biggest test since upending Tony Lascuña on the second extra hole to snare the Pueblo de Oro crown in 2019.
Ranged against Alido and Lascuña after emerging on top of a weather-suspended play Wednesday, Jaraula said he didn’t flinch, stressing: “I wasn’t rattled since I’ve been playing with them for quite some time.”
Bogeys on Nos. 2 and 3 likewise failed to fluster Alido, who battled back with three straight birdies from No. 5 for the second straight time, although the Bacolod leg winner scrambled with a two-birdie, three-bogey card in the last 10 holes for a pair of 36s and a 209.
‘I made a good start but I struggled with my putting again at the back and missed a number of (birdie) chances.’
“Those (miscues) didn’t really affect me that much because I knew I could turn it around soon with all the par-5s coming up,” said Alido, whose rebound, however, got stalled by three flubbed birdie putts from short range.
Still, he liked his chances.
“I just need to put the pressure on Reymon with my shots and get better with my recovery shots,” Alido said.
Completing Friday’s championship flight is Mondilla, another Del Monte ace whose frontside 32 put him back in the thick of things at 211 after starting the day seven shots off the pace despite a three-under card halfway through the P2 million championship put up by ICTSI.
But errant drives and botched putts led to his two backside bogeys and Mondilla missed joining Alido at second although he stayed within striking distance for a shot at ending a long title spell in the Philippine Golf Tour.
“I mishit my drives on those two holes and failed to get up-and-down,” said Mondilla, who chipped in for eagle from seven yards on the par-5 No. 7 after birdying two of the first four holes.
Jhonnel Ababa, the Villamor Philippine Masters winner, shot a 70 to tie Japanese Atsushi Ueda and Korean Chon Koo Kang at 212 after 71 and 72, respectively, while Keanu Jahns carded a second straight 70 to join Lascuña, who drifted with a 73, at 213 and Lloyd Go also fired a 71 for a share of ninth at 214 with Korean Min Seong Kim, who made a 73.
For a while, Ueda poised himself for a big finish with a frontside 33 and a six-under overall card. He added another birdie on the 11th to crowd the local big guns but made four straight bogeys from No. 13 before recovering a stroke on the 17th for a 71.