SILANG, Cavite – Jet Hernandez squandered a big lead just after nine holes but recovered a bit at the finish to regain the lead despite a 79 as Korean Kim Tae Soo blew a solid eagle-spiked start with a closing 40 for a 72 in the second round of the Riviera MVPSF Amateur Championship at Riviera’s Langer course here.
Kim sizzled with a birdie-eagle feat after six holes, his opening three-under 32 proving enough to overhaul an eight-shot deficit after 18 holes as Hernandez, who set the pace with an opening 73, groped and limped with a frontside 41 in the second round. But the Korean lost his touch at the tougher backside of the par-71, demanding layout, double-bogeying the first two holes and closing out with a birdie-bogey game in the last seven holes to end up with a one-over card.
Hernandez, meanwhile, dropped two more strokes at the back and wound up with a birdie-less eight-over card, barely staying on top at 152 with Kim just behind at 153, the same output up in by Josh Jorge, who carded a 75, while Sean Ramos turned in a 74 to get into the mix at 154, two off the pace heading to the final 18 holes of the annual event conducted and organized by National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Dan Cruz hobbled with a 77 but closed to within four at 156 while Rho Hyun Ho, also from Korea, also shot a 74 for joint sixth at 157 with Paolo Barro, who fumbled with a 77, and Korean Jung Jaehyun pooled a 159 after a 79 and Lee Sang Min and Miguel Ilas assembled identical 161s after 78 and 81, respectively.
Kim Seo Yun, also from Korea, recovered strong with three straight birdies from No. 10 and shot a 72, grabbing a two-stroke lead over Junia Gabasa, with a 76 in the women’s side of the championship sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation wand backed by PLDT Group, Cignal and Metro Pacific Investments.
Gabasa also carded a 72 for a 148 while erstwhile joint leader Rianne Malixi wavered with a 75 and slipped to third at 149, guaranteeing a fierce showdown in the final 18 holes among the field’s fancied players.
Hee Yeong Bang made a 75 and lay too far back at 154 with Laurea Duque at 156 after a 78.
Meanwhile, Erik Escalona fired a 68 to gain a six-stroke lead over Takuya Kawamura, who shot a 74, in the Mid-Amateur division with Howie Sison at third with a 77 and Raymond Co and Raymond Escalona turned in 78 and 79, respectively.