By Dr Pilipus Garpet, Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 16 – Thursday’s 2015 Pacific Games golf action saw William Howard’s five-shot lead all but disappear in the men’s individual event while Papua New Guinea’s Kristine Seko consolidated her position nicely in the women’s competition.
Overnight leader Howard, from the Cook Islands, could only manage a round of 77 to finish on 2-over 146, and is now only one shot in front of reigning Pacific Games champion Adrien Peres.
The consistent Peres shot 73 on Thursday at the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club to go with his day one 74, and looks poised to make a charge for gold again.
Brian Taikiri from Papua New Guinea shot the day’s best round of 1-under 71 to jump into third place on 150, four shots behind Howard and also well-placed for the final two rounds.
Vanuatu’s Josepho Matuatu fired an even-par 72 to put himself a shot behind Taikiri at 7-over 151.
Fiji’s Roneel Prakash is 8-over while Ugo Ottogalli (NCL), Theo Carlotti (TAH) and Louie Sunga (GUM) are all 9-over but still definitely medal contenders.
Carlotti (73) and Sunga (74) learnt from day one and improved by seven and six shots respectively, while local RPMGC champion Soti Dinki (PNG) shot 74 to beat his day one score by six shots and join the podium-seeking pack.
Daniel Webb (COK) was also big personal improver on the day, shooting 77 after an 89 on day one, but is still well back on 166.
Takili Ten Talagi of Niue picked up the unwanted Bradman Award for the day, hitting 101 to add to his 99 on day one to be 54 shots behind day two leader Howard.
Meanwhile, current RPMGC ladies open club champion, Seko extended her lead to seven strokes after day two of competition, shooting a 1-over round to add to her first round of 76.
Seko’s two-round score of 149 heads Olive Auva’a on 156 with Tonga’s Losa Fapiano and Arianne Klotz tied in third one further shot away on 157.
Auva’a shot 77 while Klotz improved seven strokes on Thursday to fire a 3-over 75, but Seko’s 73 was still best of the day.
Elmay Viking (COK) shot 81 to slip out of the top three while Fiji’s Sylvia Joe also hit 81 for a two-round tally of 159, one shot adrift of Viking in fifth.
Pricilla Gracia (NCL), who finished fourth at Noumea 2011, scored 79 on Thursday, but it was in response to a very disappointing 94 in round one and she is well out of contention 24 shots behind Seko at 173.
In the men’s team competition, PNG (454) lead by one shot from New Caledonia (455) and Cook Islands (462) and in the women’s team event, PNG (479) also lead by a shot from New Caledonia (480) while Tonga, Fiji and Cook Islands are tied for third with 498.