Clyde Mondilla leads by seven after sizzling second round in ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship

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Clyde Mondilla fired in a nine-under 63 to take a massive seven-stroke lead over Tony Lascuña after the second round of the ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship on Wednesday in Laurel, Batangas.

An eagle-birdie backside start pushed Mondilla past Miguel Tabuena and the former Philippine Open champion recovered after a mishap on No. 12 with another birdie on the 17th to stay in the lead. He then pulled away by ripping the frontside of the softened Splendido Taal Golf Club layout with six birdies for a 30-33.

“It was near-perfect,” was how Mondilla described his round that also saw him make three straight birdies from No. 4 and two closing birdies.

With a remarkable 14-under 130 aggregate, the 2019 Phl Open winner at The Country Club moved two rounds away from capturing the top P360,000 purse in this third leg of this year’s Philippine Golf Tour.

But the big lead comes with big pressure and Mondilla, who used a 2-iron off the mound and a seven-iron from 170 yards to eagle the 534-yard No. 10 from seven feet in one of the late flights, is eager to deliver with a better performance in the last two days.

“Actually, I feel the pressure more now that I’m in control. I would’ve preferred to be the one in pursuit,” said Mondilla, who marked his strong runner-up finishes at Luisita and Caliraya with final round rallies. “So I need to face the challenge and play better.”

Lascuña had long left the clubhouse before Mondilla came in with the former nurturing hopes of getting a clear shot at the crown after a 68 built around a superb closing frontside 33.

Though 36 holes remain in the Pilipinas Golf Tournament, Inc.-organized event, Lascuña’s 137 left him with too big a deficit to overcome with Tabuena slipping to joint third at 138 with Guido Van der Valk, who carded a 70, after failing to sustain a 66 start with a 72.

“I missed a lot of chances at the back,” said Lascuña, who missed out on the first two par-5s which he both birdied in a 69 start Tuesday. “But I kept telling myself just to be patient and the putts would drop in time.”

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