Carrying the momentum of a fiery 64 start, Jet Hernandez turned in a two-under-par 70 to virtually clinch the boys’ Class A title as the top Philippine bet extended his lead to 13 strokes in the penultimate round of the Asian Junior Masters in Phuket, Thailand Saturday.
The 17-year-old Hernandez dropped four birdies against two bogeys at the Blue Canyon Club’s Canyon course for the runaway lead at 134 in the division for players 15-23 years old with Miguel Ilas (76-147) and Perry Bucay (71-148) threatening to make it an all-Filipino affair by occupying the next two positions.
Lois Kaye Go, Laurea Duque, and Shinichi Suzuki can complete the Philippine domination of the event on Sunday when they shoot for the girls’ Class A and boys’ Class B crowns.
The boys’ team title also looks secure for the Philippines as Hernandez, Suzuki, Kristoffer Arevalo and Ryan Tambalque lead Thailand by 31 strokes. The girls’ team of Go, Singson, Reese Ng, and Gabie Rosca, however, will have a lot of catching up to do as they fell 18 shots behind the Thais with 18 holes left.
Go carded a 71 to tie Duque for the lead at 149 in girls Class A while Suzuki stormed to a four-shot advantage in boys Class B over Thai bet Lapassapon Liberto Heras-Gomez after a 73-150.
Hernandez, Arevalo, Go and Singson are using the Asian Junior Masters stint as their final tuneup for the Southeast Asian Games that will be held in Vietnam in two weeks.
And Hernandez looks in the form to lead the country’s campaign as he mastered the Blue Canyon course again a day after setting a personal best eight-under 64.
Hernandez was bogeyless for the first 25 holes of the event where he went nine-under until making his first bogey on the 17th hole which was his eighth after starting in the back nine. He birdied the first and sixth holes, dropped a stroke on the eighth but took it back with another birdie on the ninth.