Solid 65 propels Que to 2-shot lead
CARMONA, Cavite – Angelo Que flourished with his vaunted power and spiked his flawless 65 with solid iron play and superb short game, grabbing a two-stroke lead over erstwhile leader Christopher Hickman and a surging Justin Quiban in an action-packed third round in the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship at the Legends course here Thursday.
Que beat Hickman and Aussie Tim Stewart in a duel of power and went aggressively for the pins with his trusted irons, birdying the two par-3s at the front and finishing with four more at the back he capped with back-to-back feats to complete a sterling 33-32 card he preserved with five scrambling pars.
After 54 holes and after lurking behind the leaders in the first two days, the former Philippine Open champ finally took charge with a 16-under 197 that included a 65 and 67 – low rounds he dished out without the benefit of a practice round following a stint in the Japan PGA championship last week.
“I really had a good round but it could been bigger (lead) had I holed in a couple more birdie tries. But it’s a good thing that I made great pars on Nos. 2, 8, 11, 13 and 15,” said Que who actually boasts of the local knowledge of the Southwoods courses, including the adjacent Masters, where he honed his talent and skills during his amateur days.
But sneaking into the title picture is young Quiban, a former PGT Asia leg winner at Luisita in 2017 but didn’t really earn a second look when the $100,000 event took off Tuesday given the depth of the competing international field.
But the former amateur hotshot, who also won a PGT leg in Bacolod last year, proved he’s up to the task, birdying the first two holes and bucking two bogeys with four more birdies and an eagle on the par-5 14th to fire a 65 and earn another crack at the top $17,500 purse.
And he did it after missing grabbing a share of the second round lead with two bogeys in the last three holes at the front Wednesday, dropping him instead to joint fourth, three strokes off Hickman.
But with his second six-under card, Quiban tied Hickman at second at 199 with the erstwhile leader bouncing back with late birdies, three in the last five, to shoot a 68 and stay in the title hunt in his first foray on the region’s emerging circuit put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“I have five guys at my back who are more than capable of catching up. All of them are playing good so I have to watch out,” said Que, adding another 65 to firm up his title drive.
“I think my chances are good despite going 2-down,” said Hickman. “I just have to stay patient and try to have many looks at birdies. I played my last six holes at 3-under and that’s a positive sign.”
Quiban also brims with confidence despite going up against two power hitters.
“I’m driving it really well and I’m confident with my wedges. My putting has been steady and I don’t think I will be intimidated by Angel (Que), who I will be playing with in the championship flight for the first time,” said Quiban.
First day leader Tim Stewart of Australia missed joining Quiban and Hickman at second with a last-hole bogey that ruined what had been a fiery card that featured five birdies. He settled for a 67 for solo fourth at 200.
Juvic Pagunsan failed to make his charge in moving day but the region’s former No. 1, coming off a sweep of three PGT legs in the Visayas last month, kept the leader within sight at 12-under 201 after a 68 built on a three-birdie string from No. 14.
But the ace Negrense said Que’s two-stroke lead is already a big cushion for his former national team mainstay while hinting at a closing eight-under card to put him in title contention.
“Given his (Que) caliber, I thing a two-shot lead is enough cushion for him to win this,” said Pagunsan.
Clyde Mondilla birdied the last hole for a 69 but the reigning Philippine Open champion lay six strokes off Que at 203 while Thai Chonlatit Chuenboonngam stood another shot back at 204 after a 67.
Zanieboy Gialon bounced back from a second round 73 with the day’s best 64, a bogey-free card that put him in joint eighth at 205 with American Lexus Keoninh, who fought back with four birdies in the last six holes to save a 69, and Macedonia’s Peter Stojanovski, who matched par 71.
Miguel Tabuena hit his stride after a 72 in the second round, shooting a 66 but remained nine strokes off the pace at 206 that could be too big a deficit to overcome with 18 holes left in the event backed by PLDT Enterprise, Meralco, BDO and PGT Asia official apparel Pin High.
Other with 206 outputs are Michael Bibat (68), Thais Sutijet Kooratapisan (70) and Ratchapol Jantavara (71) and Rufino Bayron (72).