Yuka Saso boosted her title-retention bid as she padded her lead to five shots with a 72 as her rivals faltered even as Korean Kim Joo Hyung and local ace Ryan Monsalve surged ahead in the boys’ side midway through the Philippine Junior Amateur Open Golf Championships (Strokeplay) at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martirez, Cavite yesterday.
After an eagle-spiked 68 in the first round, Saso settled for a three-birdie, three-bogey stint in the heat to pool a 36-hole aggregate of 140 and move five strokes clear of Junia Gabasa and closer to scoring a title repeat in the 72-hole championship serving as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation.
Gabasa, who held her ground and shot a 71 Tuesday, bogeyed two of the first four holes and went on to card a 75, staying at second but falling farther back by five with a 146 in the event backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific Investment and organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Former national champion Harmie Constantino virtually bowed out with a 78 for a 151, 11 shots off the pace, while Kristine Torralba and Korean Yang Ju Young stood at 154 and 155 after an 80 and 77, respectively.
But while the girls’ crown looked a cinch for Saso, the chase for the boys’ plum remained as tight as ever with defending champion Kim and Monsalve matching 71s for 145s, two shots ahead of Carlo Gatmaytan, who pooled a 147 after a 74.
Opening day leader Carl Corpus failed to sustain his 71 start with a double bogey-marred backside 40, finishing with a 79 and tumbling to joint sixth.