JOE Knox holed out with a birdie on the ninth that Keanu Jahns bogeyed in a jumbling frontside finish for a key two-shot swing that earned the Englishman a shared view of the top with the Fil-German as the erstwhile leaders faltered and tumbled in a topsy-turvy second round of the ICTSI Pradera Verde Classic in Lubao, Pampanga yesterday.
Knox, who birdied two of the last three holes to save a first round 71 Tuesday, checked a roller-coaster two-birdie, three-bogey round after 11 holes from No. 10 with three straight birdies from No. 3 but tripped with a second straight bogey on the long 491-yard No. 6 before birdying the par-5 finishing hole, also for the second straight day, to preserve a 70.
Despite a bogey on No. 4, Jahns held on to a one-stroke lead he gained on a scorching four-birdie exploit at the back but misread a seven-foot putt for par at the finish for his own version of a 70, enabling Knox to keep abreast with the former at 141 heading to the last 36 holes of the $100,000 event that could be marked with a wild, wooly finish.
He left after signing his scorecard, which showed the resiliency in the journeyman from United Kingdom, who battled back from a one-over card with three straight birdies from No. 3 then closed out with a birdie to negate his other bogey on the sixth.
Jahns stayed a bit to assess his wobbly finish, saying: “Overall, I played pretty well. The wind was quite strong at the back where I started but I was able to handle my game.”
Jhonnel Ababa, who shared the first day honors with Clyde Mondilla, Dutch Guido Van der Valk and Aussie Jack Lane-Weston with 69s, went four-under overall with a second straight birdie on No. 17 as he bogeyed three of the first seven holes at the front and needed to birdie No. 8 from eight feet to scramble for a 73.
“The wind blew hard at the front (his backside),” rued Ababa, who vowed to strike back in the last two days with an attacking game as he steps up his drive for a record third straight championship in the event put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. with PLDT Enterprise, Meralco, BDO and PGT Asia official apparel Pin High as chief backers.
He slipped to joint third at 142 with a hot-charging Ira Alido, a steady Rupert Zaragosa and a defiant Lane-Weston, who blew a three-birdie binge after four holes at the back with three bogeys in the next four then closed out his frontside with a 37 also for a 73,