CAGAYAN DE ORO. — Reymon Jaraula matched his opening round 66 with another solid six-under par card in overcast skies as he outdueled fancied Jay Bayron in their spirited hunt for birdies to seize control by one after 36 holes of the ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship here Thursday.
As erstwhile leader Guido Van der Valk finished with flourish at the front to save a 70 in one of the late flights, Jaraula and Bayron slugged it out shot-for-shot and putt-for-putt for the second straight day, with the rising Del Monte star coming out a bit better with another pair of 33s to stay unscathed for two days and go one-up on the veteran Davao bet with a 12-under 132 total.
Bayron, who gunned down two eagles to match Jaraula’s first 66 with birdies on Nos. 2, 3, 8, 11, 12 and 17, also shot six birdies but bogeyed the tough par-4 No. 15 for the second straight day to settle for a 67 and remain at second at 133.
“Magaling talaga (He’s really good),” Bayron said of the 27-year-old Jaraula, whom he’d play with for the third straight Friday and possibly up to the final round of the P2.5 million tournament sponsored by ICTSI fast shaping up to be a two-man affair.
Make it three as Van der Valk, who took command in the first round with a 65, rebounded strong from a triple-bogey mishap on the par-4 11th where he hit the green but the ball bounced and rolled into the bunker and into the hazard. He made two birdies against a bogey for a backside 38 start but racked up four birdies at the front to salvage a 70 and a 135.
“I was a bit unlucky (on No. 11) and didn’t deserve a 7. But I was able to finish strong,” said Van der Valk, back in the hunt for a second crown in the 10th season of the Philippine Golf Tour after ruling the Club Filipino de Cebu Invitational last June.
Ira Alido birdied three of the last seven holes at the front to shoot a second 68 for solo fourth at 136, while Jhonnel Ababa fought back from a mediocre 72 with a flawless 65 highlighted by a three-birdie binge from No. 6 as he jumped to solo fifth at 135, five shots behind.