Go virtual Philippine Am champ with 7-stroke cushion
PLAYING under the weather? No problem for Lloyd Jefferson Go.
The 18-year-old Cebuano cracked par for the first time despite a bad cold yesterday, shooting a 1-under-par 71 to open a commanding seven-stroke lead over Jerome Ng and practically put the Philippine Amateur Open title away with one round to play at tough Wack Wack East.
“I was having a bad day because I was coughing all round,” Go said after polishing off just the second sub-par card in the MVP Sports Foundation-presented tournament—and the only one for the day—with two of his three birdies on the back nine.
“Maybe it was because I putted so well today,” said Go, who now has a 215 aggregate after matching par in the first two rounds of the event forming part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour and backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports.
As in the first two days, Go was one over entering the tough finishing holes before gunning down a birdie on the 12th and then another from the greenside bunker on the par-3 16th to leave Ng in his wake.
The 25-year-old Ng, the spearhead of the Singaporean national squad since the graduation of Quincy Qwek and Choo Tze Hwang to the pros, kissed his title-retention bid goodbye after scrambling for a 75 and 222 overall.
Ng’s national squad teammates were all in the top five but out of it with Marc Ong and Abdul Hadi now tied for third spot another six shots back after identical 75s and Johnson Poh leading a three-man group at 230 after a 78.
Gabriel Atienza and another bright Filipino hope, Jobim Carlos, were tied with Poh after failing to break 80 over the heavily wooded layout with Carlos ballooning to an 82.
“I think I just have to play solid again (today) in order to go all the way,” Go, who enjoys a 90 percent golf scholarship at Seton Hall in the United States, said when asked what it would take for him to nail down his first big victory.
If he wins, Go would become the first Filipino winner of the event in four years while ending Singaporean domination of the last two editions.
Ng, the come-from-behind winner last year, got untracked when he closed out his front nine with bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9. His title-retention chances went down the drain when he played his last two holes in the same manner.