Green seizes halfway clubhouse lead at ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship

golf icon isnManila, April 14: Malaysia’s rising star Gavin Green carded a solid six-under-par 65 to grab the halfway clubhouse lead byone-shot at the weather-disrupted ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship on Thursday.

The big-hitting Green, who opened his campaign with a 66, fired seven birdies against a lone bogey to stay ahead of the chasing pack on 11-under-par 131 total at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club’s legends course.

American John Jackson returned with a 64 to share second place with overnight co-leader Mhark Fernando of the Philippines and Thailand’s Pijit Petchkasem, who signed for 67 and 66 respectively, at the US$60,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan (64) and American Baxter Reeves (66) shared fifth on 134 while local hotshot Miguel Tabuena, highest ranked player in 110th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), stayed seven shots off the pace in tied-14th position following a 66.

Play was suspended at 2.20pm local time due to lightning threats before resuming two hours later. It was later abandoned for the day at 6.17pm due to fading light.

A total of 25 players will resume their rounds at 6.30am on Friday morning with the penultimate round scheduled to start not before 8.00am. The halfway cut is projected to be at even-par 142 with the top 50 players and ties advancing into the final two rounds.

Green, chasing for a third ADT victory and first outside of Malaysia, was pleased to hole a 15-footer for birdie on the last to grab the outright lead by one shot heading into the next two rounds.

“I played solid again. I stuck to my game plan and made some putts today which helped a lot. I stayed consistent out there. The highlight was probably making that birdie putt on the last in fading light!” said the 22-year-old Green.

“I will continue to stick to my game plan. Nothing changes. It’s always good to be at the top but there are still two more rounds to go,” added Green, who holds the record of being the first amateur to win on the ADT in 2014.

Jackson, playing in only his fifth start on ADT, is upbeat about his prospects after capping his best round so far on the region’s burgeoning Tour.

Jackson was even-par through five holes before sinking four straight birdies from the sixth to turn in 32. After a birdie on 11 and a bogey on 12, he nailed three birdies in-a-row from 13 to put himself in contention for a breakthrough ADT win.

“I drove the ball really well. The greens here are so good. I putted well today too considering that I didn’t practice before the round. I sank a 30-footer on the 15 to make it three birdies in-a-row which was great. I was able to keep to my momentum out there,” said the 28-year-old American, who turned professional in 2013.

Like all other ADT events, the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship will offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, which will be key for players vying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August.

Leading second round results:

131 – Gavin GREEN (MAS) 66-65

132 – John JACKSON (USA) 68-64, Mhark FERNANDO (PHI) 65-67, Pijit PETCHKASEM (THA) 66-66

134 – KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 70-64, Baxter REEVES (USA) 68-66

135 – Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 66-69, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 67-68

136 – Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 71-65, Zanie Boy GIALON (PHI) 67-69, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 69-67

137 – Ekthumrong LUANGANURUK (THA) 68-69, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 68-69