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Sports

Frontside rally puts Pagunsan in the mix in International Series Singapore golf tiff

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Frontside rally puts Pagunsan in the mix in International Series Singapore golf tiff
Juvic Pagunsan
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines – Juvic Pagunsan moved into early contention in the International Series Singapore with a big frontside charge, churning out a five-under 67 to trail a hot-starting Scott Vincent by three at the start of the $1.5 million event at Tanah Merah Country Club’s Tampines course Thursday.

Settling for a one-under card start at the back, the smooth-swinging Filipino ace found his range and rhythm late but just in time to put himself in the thick of things in the 72-hole championship. He birdied No. 1, holed out with back-to-back feats from No. 4 then finished with another birdie on the ninth to join Thais Tirawat Kaewsiribandit, Phachara Khongwatmai and Sadom Kaewkanjana, Korean Kyongjun Moon and England’s Steve Lewton at third.

Though Pagunsan, 44, missed four fairways and five greens, he flourished on the layout’s surface, making just 26 putts, including two that saved him pars on Nos. 8 and 18, both par-5s.

But it was his chip-in birdies on Nos. 4 and 15 that made his day in scorching conditions, his fine start coming in. as a big relief from his final round foldup in last week’s Japan PGA Championship in Shizuoa where he started at joint second after 18 holes but ended up at joint 20th after a closing 73.

Pagunsan, the Asian Tour’s former No. 1, is seeing action in the money-rich International Series for the first time.

Miguel Tabuena also broke par with a 70 but the ICTSI-backed ace stood at joint 26th, six strokes off Vincent, while Angelo Que shared 44th place with a 71 in a round marked by five birdies but marred by four miscues.

Justin Quiban, meanwhile, has a lot of catching up to do as he fumbled with a 74 and fell to joint 100th in a field of 144.

Vincent, however, proved the toughest in a low scoring day as he fired a bogey-free 64 on a pair of 32s to grab a one-stroke lead over Malaysian Gavin Green, who sizzled with 24 putts en route to his own version of a solid 65.

“It was a great day, just got off to a really nice start, and then the momentum just kept going,” said Vincent. “As I have said before I am just out here trying to be a little better each day.”

Vincent won the International Series England in Newcastle and leads the International Series Order of Merit having tied for 11th in the International Series Thailand last March.

GOLF

JUVIC PAGUNSAN

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