ABABA FORCES LOGJAM ON TOP
ANTIPOLO— Jonel Ababa fired a bogey-free four-under-par 67 in the toughest conditions of the week thus far in the PGTICTSI Forest Hills Challenge on Friday and forged a four-way tie for the lead after halfway leader Kim Joo-hyung of South Korea struggled in the closing holes.
Ababa, the first champion of the defunct National Caddies Open, gunned down all of his four birdies in his last 11 holes to charge from the middle of the pack and catch Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat, American Josh Salah and the in-form Jobim Carlos at the helm with 205 totals going into Saturday’s final 18 holes.
Buranatanyarat and Carlos submitted 68s, while Salah, the first round leader, recovered from a 73 on Thursday with a 69 to get back in the title hunt, with the group now one shot ahead of the burly Kim, who ballooned to a 75.
Albin Engino, the former caddy from Bacolod still seeking his first win as a pro, also stayed well in the hunt by shooting a 69 to be in Kim’s group together with John Ryan Lam, who fired a 67, and South African Mathiam Keyser, who returned a level 71.
Kim, who had just three bogeys total after 36 holes, took a four-shot lead at the start of the day but bogeyed his last three holes.