GEN. TRIAS, CAVITE, Philippines – Jay Bayron fired an eagle-spiked three-under 69 then watched Marvin Dumandan bogey the 18th of the Norman course to force a two-way tie for the lead at the start of the P3 million ICTSI Eagle Ridge Classic at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
Bayron, seeking a second victory in three legs of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour after coming from behind to beat brother Rufino at ICTSI Splendido last month, bucked a bogey start and tough pin placements with an eagle on the par-5 No. 3 and three birdies against another bogey to set his title bid in motion with a 34-35 card.
With the wind at manageable level, majority of the starting 93-player roster still found the going tough and rough at both the Norman and Faldo courses, venues of the event for the first two rounds, with the two layouts’ unreceptive greens bedeviling the games of the field and producing a slew of three-putt miscues.
Only seven players broke par while just three shot 72s in an otherwise fine day at the sprawling golf complex. The field, divided into two, switches courses in today’s second round with the top 40 plus ties moving into the final two rounds at Aoki.
“Hindi naman masyado mahangin pero ang hirap basahin ng greens. Magulo tingnan kasi di mo makita ang breaks. Mukhang sa putting na naman ang labanan this week (The wind hardly blew but it’s hard to read the greens, especially the breaks. It looks like it’s going to be another putting contest this week),” said Bayron, who birdied two of Norman’s last five holes to get a view of the top.
The former Order of Merit winner three-putted No. 1 but hacked a 3-wood second shot from 280 yards to within 10 feet and made it for eagle. He rolled in an eight footer for birdie on the fourth, made another three-putt bogey on No. 11 before rolling a pair of 15-footers on Nos. 14 and 16 for birdies.
Dumandan, out to snap a long title spell in the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., gunned down five birdies inside seven feet, including a flubbed eagle putt from 16 feet on No. 11, but reeled back with two bogeys, including a muffed par-putt from seven feet after missing the 18th green that could’ve given him the solo lead.
“Sayang, lamang na ako going to No. 18,” said Dumandan, who beat Bayron to nail his last win at ICTSI John Hay in 2011. “Matigas ang greens pero maganda ang putting, pumapasok kahit malayo (The greens are hard but my putting was good, even from a long distance).”
Dante Becierra, the former Hong Kong Amateur Open winner still in search of a maiden win on the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized circuit, shot five birdies against three bogeys at Faldo to seize solo third at 70 while fancied Tony Lascuña birdied Faldo’s last hole to card a 71 for joint fourth with Clyde Mondilla, Orlan Sumcad and former OOM champion Elmer Salvador. “The pin placements at Faldo are difficult, one can shoot an 80 given the hardness of the surface. I was just a bit lucky to shoot a 71,” said Lascuña.
Angelo Que, priming up for next week’s rich Malaysian Open, rammed in three birdies against a bogey in the first six holes at Norman but fumbled with three bogeys against a birdie in the last 12 holes, settling for a 72 for a share of eighth with Miguel Ochoa and Charles Hong.
Artemio Murakami, trying to end a long slump in the circuit backed by Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp and FootJoy and media partners Balls TV and ABS-CBN, went four-under after nine holes at Norman but blew it all with five bogeys at the back, including the last four holes for a 73.
He dropped to joint 11th with Frankie Miñoza, Paul Echavez, Ferdie Aunzo, Carl Santos-Ocampo and Korean Gyuha Park, who also blew a two-under card with three bogeys in the last three holes at Norman.
Jun Rates, who humbled the elite field to rule the ICTSI John Hay Championship two weeks ago in Baguio, groped for form at the longer, tougher Faldo layout, fumbled with two double-bogeys and four bogeys against two birdies for a 76 while The Country Club Invitational champion Cassius Casas hobbled with a 77 and young gun Miguel Tabuena sputtered with a 78 marred by a quadruple bogey on par-4 No. 16 and in danger of missing the cut at joint 42nd.