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PGT: Keanu Jahns’ misfortune propels Clyde Mondilla to Caliraya Springs lead


Clyde Mondilla skillfully turned Keanu Jahns’ misfortune on No. 18 into a lead-grabbing opportunity, capitalizing on a two-shot swing to pull ahead with a 67 in a pivotal third round of the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship in Cavinti, Laguna.

The dramatic shift ensued as Jahns, a stroke ahead of Mondilla after 17 holes of a thrilling shootout in blustery conditions, faced an unlucky break.

His drive on the closing par-4 hole landed in a divot, leading to a challenging finish and a double bogey for a 68.

“I was unlucky and couldn’t do much. With a hazard lying ahead, falling short wasn’t an option,” said Jahns of his last-hole challenge. He ended up overshooting the green, resulting in a difficult position and a 6.

This unfortunate turn for Jahns propelled Mondilla, who holed out with a regulation par, to the forefront at eight-under 208, narrowly edging out the Fil-German, who remained a strong contender for the title with a 209.

The day underscored both players’ exceptional prowess, which separated them from the rest of the bidders in the P2.5 million championship put up by ICTSI, setting the stage for an electrifying showdown for the top P450,000 purse in Friday’s final round.

Mondilla, out to redeem himself from a rare missed cut stint at Palos Verdes last month following a tied for 25th place finish at Apo, recognized the threat posed by Jahns, stressing the need for a solid performance in the concluding 18 holes.

“Keanu is a formidable player, so I need to step up my game tomorrow to secure victory,” said Mondilla, highlighting the comprehensive skill set required to conquer the Caliraya Springs Golf Club.

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On the other hand, Jahns, still in pursuit of his first Philippine Golf Tour victory, remained optimistic, emphasizing the importance of precision in driving, iron play, and putting to create birdie opportunities.

Jahns, runner-up to Tony Lascuña in the 2022 Match Play Championship at Villamor, also acknowledged the course’s challenges in distance control.

“It’s hard to control your distances here, even if you’re in the middle of the fairway,” said Jahns, who tied for fifth at Palos Verdes following a share of 11th place at Apo.

The duo’s duel left them ahead of the competition, including the likes of halfway joint leaders Aidric Chan and Tae Soo Kim, alongside Eric Gallardo and last year’s winner Lascuña, who trailed by five strokes with 213s.

Chan and Kim stumbled with 73s, enabling Gallardo, who shot a 69, and Lascuña, who carded a 70, to gain a share of third spot heading to the last 18 holes of the championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Minwook Gwom also put in a 70 for seventh at 214, while Angelo Que blew a frontside 33 with a closing 40 for a 73 that dropped him to joint eighth with Rupert Zaragosa, who matched par 72, at 215.

Jahns and Mondilla slugged it out from the get-go, with the former birdying the first four holes and the latter coming up with his own four-birdie spree from No. 4 as the pair, in a flight behind the halfway leaders with Dino Villanueva, quickly got past Kim and Chan, who made the turn with 36 and 37, respectively.

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Jahns took charge with a frontside 31 and kept pounding the Arnold Palmer-designed course with three more birdies against a bogey in the first eight holes at the back to seize a one-stroke lead as Mondilla, who shot a 32 after 9 holes, rebounded from a bogey-bogey slide from No. 12 with three straight birdies from No. 14.

But things tilted to Mondilla’s favor on the final hole in a result that could also hint at a similar finish in the third leg of the circuit supported by PGTI official apparel Kampfortis Golf where power and strategy, and perhaps a stroke of luck, will determine the winner.

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