Masterful Mardan in Control

Fri 10 Feb 2012

Masterful Mardan in Control


Manila, February 10: Singaporean swinger Mardan Mamat produced a masterful two-under-par 70 in tough conditions to open up a three-shot halfway lead at the ICTSI Philippine Open on Friday.

Chasing a third Asian Tour victory but first since 2006, the veteran tamed the notorious Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s East course with two birdies against no bogeys to lead American Ben Fox and local hopes Antonio Lascuna and Ferdinand Aunzo with his two-day total of five-under-par 139.

Lascuna battled to a 71, Aunzo shot a 70 while Fox scrambled to a 73 in Asia’s oldest national championship to lie on 142. Korea’s Mo Joong-kyung, Filipino teenager Miguel Tabuena, Chinese Taipei’s Lu Tze-shyan and American rookie Sam Cyr were amongst those bunched on 143 going into the weekend rounds.

Only 10 players are in red figures at the halfway stage, with the cut set at six-over-par 150 which saw 79 players making it through to the weekend rounds of the USS$300,000 tournament.

Coming off a relatively quiet 2011 season, Mardan broke away from a packed leaderboard with easy birdies on the fifth and 10th holes. “Going into the last three holes, I told myself that it would be a bonus if I could stay bogey free and I managed to do it. The winds were more, it’s swirling a lot. I was pretty much in control of my swing,” said Mardan.

The 44-year-old finished 57th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season, his lowest position since 1998, despite enjoying one runner-up finish. He said splitting his time in Japan hurt his game. “Last year was a nightmare. I played too much golf and I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m going to take it one step at a time.

“I did a lot of work-out during the off season. I spent four or five times a week in the gym with my trainer. I think that has helped my fitness get better. I’m feeling relaxed. If I can stay relaxed, it should be good. I have full respect for this golf course. It can make you happy and it can make you unhappy. I hope I will stay happy for the next two days. I like the way I’m playing,” said Mardan, who hit 15 greens in regulation and missed only three fairways during his solid round.

The 41-year-old Lascuna has won multiple titles on his domestic tour but is still dreaming of the big one on the Asian Tour. A win on Sunday in his home Open would be the icing on the cake. Three birdies against two bogeys in his morning round left him beaming from ear to ear.


“My driving is okay and I putted good. Even par or one under is a good score,” said Lascuna, who said he was reaping the benefits of spending most of his pre-season preparation working on his putting technique.

“I think I have a chance. I’ll just enjoy the game. It’s exciting. I finished third in 2002 when Rick Gibson was the champion. After Sunday, I’ll answer your question on how it feels if I can win it. I need a couple of two under par rounds over the weekend," added the Filipino, whose charge was helped considerably by the fact that he hit all 14 fairways in his round.

The 24-year-old Fox was in contention in the season-opening Zaykabar Myanmar Open last week before finishing equal sixth. He has put himself in contention again for a maiden Asian Tour victory despite not being on top of his game.


I just played terrible. I was sloppy tee to green, made some good up and downs in the middle of the round which was important and it kept me in it,” said the American, who is playing in his third season on the Asian Tour.

“My biggest goal coming into the year was to get into contention more often. It was nice to get the lead in the first round last week and I was up there the whole way and again this week. I’m in good shape. It’s nice to be in the thick of things for two weeks in a row.”

Korea’s Mo carded a 71 to stay on the fringe of contention, four off the pace. “The course is really tough and this course never goes low. You just try to make a putt,” said Mo, a two-time Asian Tour winner.

“Anything under par is good here. If you miss a fairway, you can have a tough time and if you miss a green, you can have a tougher time.”


About the ICTSI Philippine Open

As Asia’s oldest national Championship, the ICTSI Philippine Open is no doubt one of the most prestigious Opens on the Asian Tour calendar. It is title sponsored by the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), which is in the business of acquiring, developing and operating container ports and terminals worldwide. Other sponsors include HSBC (Official Bank), Panasonic Philippines (Official Co-Sponsor), Globe Telecom (Official Roaming & Telecommunications Sponsor), San Miguel (Official Co-Sponsor), Cathay Pacific (Official Airlines), OMEGA (Official Timekeeper) and BlackBerry (Official Smartphone and Tablet Partner).

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), J.Lindeberg (Apparel Partner), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Smartphgone and Tablet Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.