Minoza surges into lead at Sherwood Hills

Cavite, Philippines, April 23: Local veteran Frankie Minoza raised the local cheers when he fired a four-under-par 68 to seize the halfway lead by two shots at the US$60,000 ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic on Thursday.

Minoza, who opened with a 71, traded one eagle and six birdies against two bogeys and a double-bogey to stay ahead of the chasing pack with a two-day total of five-under-par 139 at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club.

Order of Merit leader Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei registered a 71 to share second place with six other players including overnight co-leader Poosit Supupramai of Thailand (73), Japan’s Masaru Takahashi (72) and Mitchell Slorach of Singapore (71).

American Greg Moss, Filipino duo Cassius Casas and Ric Depilo settled for a share of ninth place following rounds of 70, 71 and 71 respectively at the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic, which is the second consecutive Asian Development Tour (ADT) event to be held in the Philippines this season.

Despite stumbling with a double-bogey and a bogey on the first two holes, Minoza stormed back gallantly with four birdies on fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth before dropping another shot on the ninth.

He went on to cap a flawless back nine highlighted by two birdies and an eagle on the par-five 15th hole where he hit his second shot from 178 yards with a nine-iron.

“I started bad today but I just stayed relaxed out there. I moved on with my game after the double-bogey and bogey on the first two holes. I’m glad I managed to recover strong. I just played my own game out there. I’m very happy to be in the lead,” said the 55-year-old Filipino, who won the Philippine Open in 2007.

“I play on this course only once a year. I didn’t get to have any practice rounds prior to the start of the tournament as I just came back from Japan on Tuesday night. It’s very windy out there. I would say playing conservatively would be the key to score here. I will continue to stay relax and see how it goes,” added Minoza.

Minoza, who has won all over Asia and Japan throughout his illustrious career, also sang his praises for the younger players on the region’s burgeoning Tour.

“It’s a different ball game now. The younger players out here are really good. They can hit the ball really good. It’s hard to compete against them now! It’s good to see how the game has developed over the years. Practice makes perfect, that would be my best advice to the younger players out here,” said Minoza.

Poosit, who is bidding for a maiden victory on the ADT, stayed positive despite failing to keep up pace.

“I was struggling out there. It was much windier compared to yesterday when I played in the morning. I reminded myself to stay in the game and concentrate on every shot I made. I told myself not to think so much and just stay focused. I am going to keep it the same tomorrow,” said the 21-year-old Poosit, who traded two birdies against a double bogey and a bogey.

Hsieh credited lady luck for his commendable round where he managed to pull off some crucial par saves to stay in the title mix.

“I was really lucky today. I didn’t play as well as I did yesterday but I was lucky because I made a lot of par saves. I try not to give myself so much pressure when I get out there now. I don’t set targets. It’s just shot by shot for me. I just stayed patient and play my best,” said the 24-year-old Hsieh, who won his second ADT title on home soil last month.

A total of 51 players made the halfway cut which was set at four-over-par 148.

The ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic is one of the two tournaments title-sponsored by the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) in the Philippines on the ADT schedule this season.

The ADT will reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.

With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

Leading second round scores

139 – Frankie MINOZA (PHI) 71-68

141 – Anthony FERNANDO (PHI) 72-69, HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE) 70-71, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 69-72, Mitchell SLORACH (SIN) 70-71, Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 72-69, Poosit SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 68-73, Orlan SUMCAD (PHI) 70-71

142 – Cassius CASA (PHI) 71-71, Greg MOSS (USA) 72-70, Ric DEPILO (PHI) 71-71

About the Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.