Thailand imposed its will early while the expected early charge of Filipino golfers sputtered in both the men's and women's divisions of the 31st Southeast Asian Games Friday at the Heron Lake Course in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam.
Jet Hernandez, Jed Dy and Gab Manotoc each carded two-over 74 and fell six strokes behind Weerawish Narkprachar, who set the early pace in individual play with a four-under 68.
The Thai led by one over Singapore's Hiroshi Tai, who fired a 69, while Pongsapak Laopakdee, also of Thailand, and Indonesian Amadeus Chrisitan Susanto matched 70s.
Fancied Thai Rathanon Chantananuwat, coming off a big victory in an Asian Tour event last month, turned in a 71 for joint fifth with Ervin Chang of Singapore and local ace Nguyen Anh Minh.
Kristoffer Arevalo, the other member of Team Philippines, wavered with a 78.
The women's squad of Lois Kaye Go and ICTSI-backed Mafy Singson and young sensation Rianne Malixi all fumbled with 76s and stood nine strokes behind a hot-starting Natthakritta Vongtaveelap and Eila Galitsky, both of Thailand, who exploded with five-under 67s.
They opened a four-shot lead over Malaysian Jeneath Wong and Singapore's Suanne Loh, who both shot 71, with the rest going over in the first round of the 54-hole championship.
The national women's team then made up of Bianca Pagdanganan, Go and Abby Arevalo swept the individual and team gold medals in the last SEA Games at Luisita in 2019.
The team competition will start on Monday.