Fidel Concepcion

Fidel Concepcion

In a tense battle for control, Fidel Concepcion held steady and then watched Guido Van der Valk trip on his last two holes to seize a one-shot lead in the third round of the ICTSI Riviera Championship on Thursday at Silang, Cavite.

Concepcion trailed by as many as three strokes overall during the round, but steadied himself in the back nine with birdies on 13 and 15 for a 71. He was at 214 overall when halfway leader Van der Valk wobbled into the clubhouse with back-to-back bogeys to fall behind by a stroke.

“It’s pretty simple golf. It’s easy to make bogeys here at Langer, so it’s important to stay to my strengths,” said Concepcion, referring to the challenge that the treacherous layout has so far posed.

And Van der Valk is very much aware of how fortunes can drastically change at the Langer course.

“I played good until the end, bogeying the last two,” he said. “I’ll just try to hit as many good shots so you get easy pars because they’re not easy on this course.”

Concepcion, who led after the first round, will still face a lot of fight from the field as he guns for his first Philippine Golf Tour crown with Van der Valk just one of the aces he has to worry about.

Journeyman Rico Depilo is looking to pull off a major surprise from two strokes down after shooting a 70 (216) that plugged him at solo third for the top P360,000 purse in this penultimate leg of this year’s six-stage tour.

Zanieboy Gialon and Ira Alido are also in contention for the crown, trailing Concepcion by just three strokes.

Gialon rode birdies on 11, 13, 14 and 16 to turn a three-over card into a 70. He was tied with Alido at 217.

Gialon routed the field at Caliraya Springs last April but struggled to joint 25th at Splendido Taal then posted a joint sixth place effort at Eagle Ridge-Aoki.

And then there is the big gun just four shots off. Juvic Pagunsan clung to a 72 after a birdie at 17 for a 218 that kept the trophy within his reach.

—Inquirer Sports Staff

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