Carlos takes lead with solid 71

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 07 2014 09:04 AM | Updated as of Jan 07 2014 05:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Jobim Carlos turned in a bogey-free one-under 71 in ideal condition to post a one-stroke lead over Cebuano LJ Go and three ahead of defending champion Jerome Ng of Singapore at the start of the MVPSF Philippine Amateur Open Golf championship at Wack Wack’s East Course in Mandaluyong yesterday.

Carlos, 21, birdied No. 2 from 12 feet and kept an unblemished card by hitting the fairways and the greens in regulation for a 35-36 round that set his title bid in motion after finishing second to Korean expat Wang Jeung-hun at Riviera in 2011.

“The (playing) condition was great and I played patient out there,” said Carlos, an advertising junior at the University of San Francisco. “But there’s still a lot of holes to be played and I won’t deviate from my strategy of hitting the fairways and greens.”

Go, a member of the Cebu Country Club team that ruled the PAL Interclub the last two years, also went one-under after 13 holes despite dropping two strokes at the frontside.

But the long-hitting teener dropped another shot on the 13th after missing the green and settled for a 72 while Ng missed staying abreast with late bogeys to drop to a 74 in a tie with veteran local campaigner John Kier Abdon and compatriot Johnson Poh.

Unheralded Gabriel Atienza and Luigi Miguel Guerrero made a pair of 75s while another shot farther back at 76 were Jun Tea-yang and Song Seung-hyo of Korea and Gabriel Manotoc.

Antonio Asistio, the former pro and multi-titled amateur, struggled with a six-over 78 to lay seven strokes off Carlos in the 72-hole championship presented by MVP Sports Foundation and backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.

Carlos, out to atone for his so-so stint in last month’s SEA Games in Myanmar, sealed his sub-par round with a great rescue on the 18th where he hit an errant drive into the trees, punched out and left himself with a 30-yard shot to the green before nailing a five-footer to preserve a bogey-free round.

Ng played it even after 15 holes but reeled back with back-to-back bogeys from No. 16 for a 36-38 card that dropped him three shots off the lead.