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RICAR CANDINATO drew more than what he had asked for from amateur partner Zeus Sara as they produced a stirring 11-under 61 in four-ball format to zero in on the first Sambalilo Golf Pro-Am crown at the Caliraya Springs Golf Club in Cavinti, Laguna, on Saturday.

Sara, a 6-handicapper, churned out a brilliant nine-birdie stint as he practically steered his partnership with Candinato from two strokes down with a sustained assault on the par-72 layout.

The Davaoeño ace bogeyed the first hole which Candinato saved then went on a birdie spree on Nos. 5, 8 and 9 before stringing four from No. 10. He capped his exploits with back-to-back birdies from No. 16 for the team’s 31-30 output.

Counting their 63 in the scramble format Friday, the Candinato-Sara pair pooled a 20-under 124 total to eclipse erstwhile joint leaders Sean Ramos and Laurea Duque’s 125 aggregate after slowing down with 64 in best-ball after a 61.

But half of the starting 76-team field are still out on the fairways at presstime although they would need to turn in super low rounds to unseat the Candinato-Sara tandem.

Otherwise, Candinato, a pro from Eastridge where he last played in the local pro circuit many years ago, is headed for a record paycheck of P100,000 while Sara will receive a trophy plus merchandise.

Ramos and Duque’s bid got stymied by a bogey on the par-3 No. 3 as they came up short by one despite a fiery windup of six birdies in the last seven holes on a pair of three-birdie feats from Nos. 12 and 16.

Arnold Villacencio and Terrence Macatangay, who matched the Ramos-Duque pair’s 61 in the first day, also failed to get up-and-down on No. 3 and dropped another stroke on the 13th to card a 65 for third at 126.

Albin Engino, meanwhile, grabbed the spotlight when he aced No. 7 and his teamup with Vice Mayor Milbert Oliveros also came through with a 61 to snatch fourth place at 128.

Robert Pactolerin and Javi Lazatin also rallied with a 61 for a 129 to salvage fifth place in the two-day event sponsored by the Municipality of Cavinti in conjunction with the province’s Sambalilo Festival celebrations.

Rounding up the provisional Top 10 are Dante Becierra-Hiromi Nakamura (67-130), Marvin Dumandan-Nolan Lalo, which put in a best 60, also for 130, James Lam-Jet Mathay (65-131), Junelson Alferez-Ji Sung Cheon (68-132) and Ronald Pactolerin-Joaquin Gomez (66-133).