MANILA -- Rupert Zaragosa seized a one-stroke lead after Day 1 of the ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge after firing a five-under 65 at the Iloilo Golf and Country Club on Wednesday.
Zaragosa scorched the backside of the short but demanding par-70 layout with five birdies, making up for a shaky start of two bogeys in the first three holes. He also dropped two strokes on the par-3 No. 5 but gunned down birdies on Nos. 4, 6, 7 and 9 to draw level at the turn.
"I played good at Marapara so it boosted my confidence coming over here," said Zaragosa, who was tied for second with Tony Lascuña in last week’s ICTSI Negros Occidental Golf Classic.
Zaragosa is one stroke ahead of Ferdie Aunzo, who fired five birdies against a bogey to gain solo second at 66. Elee Bisera and Reymon Jaraula likewise bounced back from so-so showing at Marapara with a pair of 67s.
"Maganda ang kondisyon compared sa last week at maayos ang driving at short game," said Aunzo, who opted for conservative play when some went on an attack mode to fuel their respective bids.
Other contenders such as Ira Alido, Frankie Miñoza, Albin Engino, Bonifacio Salahog and Dutch Guido van der Valk all struggled trying to hurdle the challenges at the region’s oldest course.
Alido, who made a furious comeback to rule last week's ICTSI Negros, ended up with a 73 at joint 25th, eight strokes off the leader.
Miñoza, meanwhile, found the Iloilo layout not to his liking, limping with a 78 marred by a triple-bogey on the par-5 No. 4 and six bogeys with only a birdie to show. At joint 50th, he is in danger of missing the Top 40 and ties cut.