Clyde Mondilla clings to two-shot lead heading to final round of ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship

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CLYDE Mondilla saw his lead dwindle down to two shots as he salvaged a 72 in the third round of the ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship in Laurel, Batangas on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

Mondilla had an uncharacteristic triple-bogey on the par-5 No. 9, which almost ruined the day of the Del Monte ace, who birdied Nos. 3 and 10 before bouncing back with back-to-back birdies from No. 16 from close range after dropping another stroke on the 14.

From seven-up over Tony Lascuña halfway through the P2 million event, Mondilla saw his seven-shot lead dwindle down to two with a 14-under 202 aggregate as Guido van der Valk took the challenger’s role with a solid eagle-spiked 66 in a separate flight for a 204.

Lascuña cashed in on Mondilla’s early meltdown with a fiery 33 to move within two but the multi-titled campaigner slowed down with a one bogey-one birdie card at the back for a 69 and a 206, four strokes behind.

“It happens,” said Mondilla, talking about his solid drive on No. 9 that went straight and long but did not clear a fairway hazard on his 6-iron second shot. He took a drop and overshot the green then three-putted.

“There was pressure but I was able to endure it. Just had an unlucky bounce on No. 9,” added Mondilla,.

“At least, I’m still in the lead although it’s now a close fight,” he continued.

Van der Valk rode an eagle on No. 2 and birdied four of his last 10 holes for a pair of 33s that pulled him within two and a chance to end a long title drought on the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

“I hit the ball pretty well and hit 17 greens. I had many birdie chances,” said van der Valk, who hopes to translate the big opportunity into a winning attack in the last 18 holes.

“I’ll try again to do the same thing tomorrow (today),” he added, while stressing the need for patience in tackling a challenging course as Splendido.

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