Clyde Mondilla of the Philippines put together a stirring bogey-free seven-under 65 as he tied for ninth after 18 holes of men’s play in golf competitions in the 2023 Asian Games at the West Lake International Golf course in Xihu District on Wednesday, September 27.
In top form coming off a series of tournaments on the Philippine Golf Tour, marked by back-to-back victories at Forest Hills and at home in Del Monte in Bukidnon, the former Philippine Open champion mastered the course despite lack of practice round as he joined five others in the Top 10, including India’s Anirban Lahiri, Taichiro Ideriha of Japan, Chinese’Taipei’s Chien-Yao Hung, Macau’s Ngai Si and veteran Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh.
Teeing off at the back, Mondilla, 29, birdied Nos. 12 and 17 and built on that start to produce five more birdies at the front, including three straight from No. 4.
But he stood four strokes off a hot-starting Yubin Jang of Korea, 21, who led the assault on the par-72 layout with an 11-under 61 behind a frontside 29 for a one-stroke lead over Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho, 22, who flourished with a 62.
Jang birdied the first six holes and added another on the eighth. He went eight-under with another feat on the 10th then recovered strong from his lone mishap on the 11th with four birdies in the last seven holes.
Wooyoung Cho helped anchor Korea’s imposing start as the 21-year-old rising star from Incheon fired a solid 63 to join the siege of the bumper crop of young guns in the four-day tournament that also featured the team competition.
Other 63 scorers are Chinese Guxin Chen and Japan’s Masato Sumiuchi while Thai Phachara Khongwatmai shot a 64 for a share of sixth with Singapore’s KAJ Leow and Dengshan Koh.
But while Mondilla put himself in early medal contention, his teammates failed to measure up in a day of torrid scoring although amateurs Carl Corpus and Aidric Chan matched par 71s for joint 38th while adding a combined two-under total to Mondilla’s seven-undercard in team play.
Ira Alido, a two-time PGT winner, however, settled for an even par 72 and stood at tied 47th in a huge field of 82.
Korea’s big start likewise netted them the lead in team play as it assembled a 26-under 190 in the four-to-play, three-to-count format event, four strokes clear of Singapore, which pooled a 194 with Japan in third with a 195.
The Philippines stood at ninth with a 207, 10 strokes off the fourth-running and regional rival Thailand, which made a 197.