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Delos Santos rallies to fire 67, trails by 3 in Casio World Open golf tourney

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Delos Santos rallies to fire 67, trails by 3 in Casio World Open golf tourney
Justin Delos Santos
Instagram / Singapore Open

MANILA, Philippines – Justin delos Santos came charging home at the front to fire a five-under 67 while Juvic Pagunsan likewise put himself in early contention with a 68 after 18 holes of the Casio World Open paced by American Chan Kim at the Kochi Kuroshio Country Club course in Kochi Prefecture in Japan Thursday.

Delos Santos came out a lot better from a backside 35 as he hit a pair of back-to-back birdies from Nos. 4 and 8 and moved from the middle of the pack to joint third, just three strokes behind a hot-starting Kim, whose eagle-spiked 64 netted him a two-shot lead over Arkuryu Iwasaki, who strung up a pair of 33s for a 66.

Delos Santos, coming off a two-week break after finishing tied for 11th in the Mynavi ABC Championship, rebounded from a mishap on No. 11 with birdies on Nos. 12 and 18 but never really got into the mix until he birdied Nos. 4 and 5. He muffed a birdie chance on the par-5 seventh but birdied the last two holes to finish with a flourish for a share of third with 13 others.

Pagunsan earlier sizzled with his irons to shoot four birdies in the first 11 holes, including three straight from No. 9. He then recovered from a missed green mishap on the par-3 14th with a birdie on the 17th but missed cashing in on the closing par-5 hole to end up with a pair of 34s.

Pagunsan is out to improve on his tied for 22nd finish in last week’s Dunlop Phoenix Open in Miyazaki Prefecture. He did miss five fairways but came through with superb iron shots to gain strokes on Nos. 5, 9, 10 and 11.

Though he stood four strokes behind a hot-starting Cham at joint 17th, Pagunsan hopes to ride on his fine start to fuel a drive for a second Japan Golf Tour crown after scoring a breakthrough in the Mizuno Open last year.

Kim, however, looked ready to foil the former Asian Tour No. 1’s bid as he dominated the Kochi layout’s backside with a six-under 30 capped by an eagle on No. 18. He, however, slowed down with a two-birdie card at the front that proved enough to put him on top of the elite field, including Iwasaki, who strung up a pair of 33s for a 66, who also birdied three of the last six holes at the front to stalk Kim.

GOLF

JUVIC PAGUNSAN

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