Danao City, Cebu—Guido Van der Valk pounded the Club Filipino de Cebu course for the second straight day and came away with a new course record of six-under 65 to turn a shaky one-stroke edge into a whopping six-shot bulge halfway through the ICTSI Club Filipino de Cebu Invitational here yesterday.
While the rest of the pack could not seem to master the short but tricky par-71 layout softened by overnight rain, the Dutchman kept his romp with another superb all-around game, shooting eight birdies against two bogeys as he bettered his lead-grabbing opening 66 to post a huge lead at 11-under 131.
Jhonnel Ababa, who ruled the rain-shortened inaugurals of this event last year, did card an under-par round in overcast skies but his 69 could only net him a 36-hole aggregate of 137 for second but six shots behind heading to the last 36 holes of the P3 million event sponsored by ICTSI.
“There was nothing special but I’ve got good swing and the ball carried real well,” said Van der Valk, who birdied Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 15 inside 10 feet to negate his bogeys on the two par-3s (Nos. 8 and 11) on his way to posting a new course mark and moving 36 holes from scoring a follow-up to his breakthrough win at Eagle Ridge last year.
Lloyd Go actually looked headed to challenging Van der Valk when he went four-under after 11 holes but the rookie pro drove out-of-bounds twice on the par-4 14th and limped with a quadruple bogey. He, however, birdied two of the last four to submit a second 69 for joint third with Elmer Salvador, who turned in a 70, and Jay Bayron, who matched par 71, at 138.
“It’s okay, still two rounds left. Hopefully, I can still catch up,” said the local ace and former national amateur champion.
Michael Bibat, who started the round in joint second with Bayron and Aussie Jack Sullivan, just one stroke off Van der Valk, failed to recover from a bogey-bogey start, finishing with two more bogeys against three birdies for a one-over 72. He slipped to joint sixth at 139 with Rufino Bayron, who birdied the last two holes at the front for a 68, and Albin Engino, who also rallied with a 69.
Forty-three players advanced to the final 36 holes of the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized event with Sullivan and four others barely making the cut at four-over 147 with a horrible 80 after a fine start of 67.
The Gold Coast native, who rallied with three birdies at the front to get into the first round mix Wednesday, fumbled with seven bogeys and a double bogey with no birdie to show in a 40-40 round.
The other five-over total scorers were Korean Kim Young Hyun (73), Japanese Kei Matsuoka (74) and England’s George Twyman, who fought back with a 69.
Former PGT Asia leg champion Justin Quiban fired a 69 for solo ninth at 140 while American Lexus Keoninh, who opened with an impressive 68, groped for a 74 and tumbled to joint 10th at 142 with Mhark Fernando (70), Reymon Jaraula (71), Japanese Ryo Nishimura (73) and Dino Villanueva (71).
But no one emerged rock-solid than Van der Valk’s.
The 39-year-old PGT veteran from Lelystad, the Netherlands kept his mastery of the course’s three par-5s, which he eagled (No. 11) and birdied (Nos. 15 and 6) in the first round. Though he missed a birdie chance on the sixth, Van der Valk more than made for the slip with birdies on two of the last three holes.
But he will be severely tested as he slugs it out with Ababa and Jay Bayron in today’s featured flight with Go hoping to step up his title drive against Salvador and Rufino Bayron in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology Inc.