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Sports

Balasabas posts 4-shot lead after record 68

- Joey Villar -
CALATAGAN, Batangas — Jessie Balasabas fired three birdies in the backnine for a record four-under par 68 as he surged from four shots down to four shots up halfway through the second National Caddies Open at the Calatagan Golf Club here yesterday.

Balasabas, who had a 76 in the first day, overtook opening day leader and fellow Calatagan bet Rufino Bayron with a two-day total of 144, gunning down five birdies against one bogey.

The 23-year-old Zamboanga City native set a new course record in this four-day, course-hopping event supported by San Miguel Corp., Philippine Sports Commission and Pagcor. Veteran amateur Abe Rosal had a 65 a few years ago but he carded it over a course which didn’t play to its full yardage.

"I’m happy with my performance, I was surprised myself," said Balasabas in Filipino. He left Edwin Andrews Airbase in Zamboanga City last year to train and carry bags here.

That also gave him the confidence and the momentum going into the crucial third round today at the Canlubang course where Balasabas blew up to a 79 last year and failed to make the cut for the final round.

"I’m ready for Canlubang, I feel I can sustain my form," he said.

Bayron, younger brother of former caddy champ Jay, who is a member of the gold medal-winning team in the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG), lost his overnight four-shot edge as he struggled to a 76 marred by a double bogey and six bogeys against four birdies for 148.

Bayron was very much in control at the helm as he birdied the first, second and fourth holes against a bogey on No. 3 but he couldn’t keep his charge and folded up with bogeys in the last three holes of the frontnine.

"I lost it after the seventh hole but it’s far from over and I hope to bounce back tomorrow," said Bayron.

Eight strokes off the pace at third spot was Mark Fernando of Calatagan, who matched his first day total of 76 for a 152 aggregate.

The top three placers in this 72-hole tournament will be be included the NCO national development program.

Efren Robles of the Philippine Navy assembled a second day 75 to share No. 4 spot with Rodel Revilleza of Lanang at 157s.

Teen entries Paul Echavez and Zanie Boy Gialon, playing out of Apo — the spawning ground of top-notch Filipino shotmakers like Cassius Casas and Antonio Lascuna — stumbled to 82s after sharing second in the first round with a couple of 76s.

They were tied with Israel Bisera of Lanang at No. 6 with 158s.

Still in the hunt with 159s were Don Don Osabel of Valley, Joleo Torrecampo of Marapara, Angelo Anzures of Calatagan, Robert Villanueva of Bacolod and Elizardo Canda of Camp Evangelista.

A total of 37 entries made to the third round. The top 20 after the Canlubang round will move to Wack Wack for the final round tomorrow.

ABE ROSAL

ANGELO ANZURES OF CALATAGAN

BALASABAS

BAYRON

CALATAGAN GOLF CLUB

CANLUBANG

CASSIUS CASAS AND ANTONIO LASCUNA

DON DON OSABEL OF VALLEY

EDWIN ANDREWS AIRBASE

EFREN ROBLES OF THE PHILIPPINE NAVY

ZAMBOANGA CITY

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