CARMONA, Cavite, Philippines — John Michael O’Toole battled Jay Bayron shot-for-shot, putt-for-putt and birdie-for-birdie then put on another fiery windup to card a 66 and tie the Filipino ace at the helm after three rounds of the rich ICTSI Manila Southwoods Golf Championship at the Legends course here yesterday.
Neither one blinked majority of their day-long shootout marred by another weather delay but O’Toole came out of the break and a three-putt miscue on No. 16 with closing birdies, bouncing back from two down for a shared view of the top and bringing their highly charged duel for the top $17,500 purse to the final 18 holes of the $100,000 event serving as the third leg of the Philippine Golf Tour Asia Season 2.
“After I bogeyed No. 16, I knew I had to make up,” said O’Toole after virtually matching his explosive finish of three straight birdies that pulled him within one off Bayron Wednesday. “I hit really good shots on the last two holes, the crucial ones for the day and those rewarded me a share of the lead.”
Bayron actually turned in a bogey-free 67 that could keep one’s lead safe but had to settle for joint lead at 20-under 196 with pars in the last four holes.
“After the delay, the plan was to play cautious. I didn’t commit any errors despite the wet fairways and the slow greens,” said Bayron. “I’m happy to finish with a share of the lead and it’s going to be tough tomorrow (today). Whoever gets a good start will have a better chance at winning.”
He threatened to pull away early with a birdie on No. 3 but O’Toole struck back with his own birdie on No. 5. They matched birdies on the two par-5s and on the short par-4 No. 10 then O’Toole tied Bayron at the helm at 18-under overall with another birdie on No. 11.