Clyde Mondilla hits a picture-perfect approach on No. 9 that led to a closing birdie.

Clyde Mondilla hits a picture-perfect approach on No. 9 that led to a closing birdie. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Backing his eye-popping length off the tees with great precision play, Clyde Mondilla on Wednesday fired an eagle-aided nine-under-par 63 to wrest a commanding seven-shot lead over Antonio Lascuña after 36 holes of the P2-million ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship in Laurel, Batangas.

Starting off the 10th tee, Mondilla drilled a 2-iron off the mound to about 364 yards, leaving himself a 7-iron from 170 yards for his approach on the par-5 hole, where he placed it to within seven feet for that eagle and touch off a 30-33 round for a 130 aggregate.

“It was near-perfect,” Mondilla said of his scorching round that also had eight birdies against a bogey that came on No. 12. His score wasn’t accepted as the new course record because overnight rains made the second round play to winter rules.

Lascuña returned a 68 for 137, a stroke ahead of first round leader Miguel Tabuena, who returned a level 72 to be tied with Dutchman Guido van Der Valk, who shot a 70.

Meanwhile, Sunshine Baraquiel fired a second straight 71 for 142 to seize the lead in the accompanying P750,000 ladies event, as the Tagaytay Highlands leg winner last year takes a one-stroke advantage over Chanelle Avaricio into Thursday’s final 18.

Avaricio scored a 73 and dropped into a tie with amateur Mafy Singson, who shot a 72, at 143.

With a chance to end a string of two runner-up finishes this season, Mondilla admits to feeling the pressure.

“I would have preferred to be the one pursuing the leaders,” Mondilla said. “I feel the pressure now that I have the lead, so I just need to play better.”

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