Singaporean swinger Mardan Mamat produced a masterful two-under-par 70 in tough conditions to open up a three-shot halfway lead after the second round of the US$300,000 ICTSI Philippine Open on Friday.
Chasing a third Asian Tour victory the veteran notched a two-day total of five-under-par 139 with two birdies against no bogeys to lead American Ben Fox and local hopes Antonio Lascuna and Ferdinand Aunzo.
Lascuna battled to a 71 and Aunzo shot a 70, while Fox scrambled to a 73 in Asia’s oldest national championship to lie on 142.
Coming off a low-key season last year, Mamat, whose last Asian tour victory was in 2006, broke away from a packed leaderboard with easy birdies on the fifth and 10th holes.
“Going into the last three holes, I told myself that it would be a bonus if I could stay bogey-free and I managed to do it. The winds were more, it’s swirling a lot. I was pretty much in control of my swing,” Mamat said.
The 44-year-old finished 57th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season, his lowest position since 1998, despite enjoying one runner-up finish.
The 41-year-old Lascuna has won multiple titles on his domestic tour, but is still dreaming of the big one on the Asian Tour, and a win tomorrow in his home Open would be particularly special.
After three birdies against two bogeys in his morning round, he was happy with his performance.
Taiwan’s Lu Tze-shyan carded a 74 to slip to one-under for the tournament, four shots behind Mamat.
Fellow Taiwanese Lin Wen-hong was No. 35 at 147, Wang Ter-chang, Lu Wei-chih and Chan Yih-shin totaled 149 and Chan Shih-chang had 150. Cho Tseng-ling, Lu Wen-teh and Chiang Chen-chih missed the cut.