MANILA, Philippines - Defending champion Abe Avena carded a two-over 74 to share the lead with former pro Eddie Bagtas and two others at the start of the NGAP National Senior Amateur Championship presented by the MVP Sports Foundation at Mount Malarayat in Lipa, Batangas yesterday.
Avena, a club member, bucked poor putting to turn in a 36-38 round at the composite Malipunyo and Lobo nines as he tied Bagtas, Egay San Luis and Mari Hechanova in the event backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.
Bagtas, who helped power Luisita to victory in the Philippine Airlines Senior Interclub title in Bacolod last February, rebounded from a front nine 40 with a 34 while San Luis shot two 37s and Hechanova wavered with a 38 after a 36.
Former champion Dave Hernandez made a 77 and stood three shots back while Rudy Amata and Tony Olives lay a shot farther back with 78s.
Francis Gaston, another former winner, struggled with a 79 even.
Gary Sales, a former pro, fired a 77 to pace the Mid-Am division by a stroke over Jeck Mendoza with Gerald Katigbak and Augusto de Jesus carding identical 82s.