Marvin Dumandan stole the spotlight in a thrilling third-round battle at the ICTSI South Pacific Classic in Davao City, making a remarkable surge past joint leaders Justin Quiban and Nilo Salahog.
Dumandan’s impressive performance, marked by a solid 72, unfolded on the challenging terrain of the South Pacific course on Thursday.
In an unexpected turn of events, Dumandan’s even-par round shone through the scorching conditions that have become characteristic of the South Pacific course.
The course’s demanding greens, which test even the most skilled golfers, made Dumandan’s performance all the more astonishing. His ascent to the top of the leaderboard was a pleasant surprise, both for himself and for fans witnessing his outstanding play.
“I’ve never held the lead since my win in the 2009 Apo Classic,” said the ever-jovial Dumandan, whose card featured one birdie and one bogey, securing his place at seven-under 209 after three rounds that included scores of 69 and 68.
He continued, “I missed being on top, and I hope this continues.”
Maintaining a cheerful demeanor, Dumandan expressed his intention to approach the next round without any undue pressure, stating, “There’s no reason to feel pressured. I simply missed being in this position.”
Justin Quiban, known for his solid driving, is determined to regain his leading position after a challenging round that saw him struggle on the greens, resulting in a 75 marred by three-putt errors. Nevertheless, the Asian Tour campaigner remains just one stroke behind Dumandan at 210, sharing second place with local hopeful Elee Bisera, who carded an impressive 70.
The P2 million championship, supported by Kampfortis Golf, the official apparel sponsor of the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., has turned into a battle of survival on one of Sta. Lucia Realty’s premier championship courses.
Cebu-based Japanese golfer Gen Nagai also kept himself in contention with a second consecutive 70, highlighted by a second straight eagle on the par-5 No. 2. He tied with Nilo Salahog, who struggled with a 76, at 211, just two strokes behind the leader.
Salahog managed to record an eagle on No. 12 but experienced a challenging back nine, marked by five bogeys, after two impressive rounds of 67 and 68.
Defending champion Tony Lascuña made a strong push with a frontside 34 but faced difficulties with three bogeys on the final nine holes, finishing with a 72 for a joint sixth position at 212. He shares this spot with Keanu Jahns, who carded a 71, and Clyde Mondilla, the winner at Forest Hills and Del Monte, who rallied with a 69.
Elmer Salvador shot a 71 to tie with Rupert Zaragosa, who struggled with a 75, at 213. Lloyd Go delivered the day’s best performance with a 68, earning a share of 11th place at 214, five strokes behind Dumandan. Also in this group are Sean Ramos, who carded a 70, Jhonnel Ababa, with a 71, and Dino Villanueva, who posted a 73.
Quiban expressed frustration at his performance, saying, “I was driving well at the start and hitting my irons somewhat well, but they’re just not reaching the target for some reason. I don’t know why.” Quiban, who produced 10 birdies against a lone bogey in the first 36 holes, lamented his issues with distance control and putting.
Dumandan also acknowledged the challenge posed by the demanding pin placements, noting, “You need to be accurate. The pin placements are extremely tough. If you miss the greens, it’s difficult to recover, which is the most significant challenge here. So, when you make a one-putt, it’s a bonus.”