Australia rode on Greg Rhodes’ 73 and Ian Frost and Stefan Albinski’s pair of 74s as it pooled a 299 to open a huge 12-stroke lead over Japan at the start of the 2016 Asia-Pacific Senior Amateur Championship at the posh Alabang Golf Club in Muntinlupa on Wednesday.
Rhodes fumbled with bogeys on Nos. 8 and 10 but birdied the 13th to turn in a 37-36 while Frost made two birdies against four birdies and Albinski blew a two-under card after three holes with five bogeys in the next 12 holes but birdied the 16th to finish with a 36-38.
With Gordon Claney adding a 78, the Aussies set in motion their bid for a sixth championship in the last nine years of the event sanctioned by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation and hosted and co-organized by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Peter Hannah or Steve Toyne each shot 80s and didn’t count in the six-to-play, four-to-count format event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, San Miguel Corp., Smart, PLDT, Cleveland, Srixon, the Philippine Sports Commission, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines, and the Department of Tourism.
The Philippines failed to get going with a 326 as Abe Avena and Mari Hechanova turned in a pair of 79s, former Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia carded an 83 and Benjie Sumulong made an 85. With Rolly Viray and Allan Alegre out with 86 and 87, respectively, the hosts fell 27 shots off the hot-starting Aussies.
Japan also drew a 73 from Takashi Kamei while Tomio Otomo had a 76 and Kiyoshi Miyamoto and Satoshi Hato added 79 and 83, respectively, for a 311 total for second, just one ahead of South Korea, which pooled a 312 on Heongsoo Jang and Yangkwon Kim’s identical 77s and Junkee Lee and Kljong Oh’s pair of 79s.
New Zealand, which beat Australia to claim last year’s crown in China, sputtered with a 316 with Frank Borren and Reg Fleet’s 78s standing as the team’s best score. The Kiwis also drew a pair of 80s from John Batley and Andrew McKechnie.
Hong Kong assembled a 318 for fifth, eight shots ahead of the hosts who are aiming to duplicate the 2007 Phl team’s title feat at Mt. Malarayat.
Pakistan hobbled with a 334 while Singapore and India turned in 342 and 346, respectively, in the nine-team field in the overall APGC Team competition.
Team Phl B, however, paced the International Team Championship with a 333, 24 shots ahead of Hong Kong B, which had a 357, while Australia B stood too far behind at 361. Scorers for the hosts were Dave Hernandez (80), Chito Laureta (82), Kit Angeles (84) and Rudy Amata (87).
Rhodes also took charge in the individual competition in the 55-59 age-group, one ahead of Frost and two-up on Hong Kong’s Douglas Williams, who had a one-under card after nine holes but bogeyed four of the last nine for a 75.
Kamei’s 73 also netted him the individual lead in 60-64 bracket, one up on Albinski with Avena and Hechanova at joint fifth with 79s, while Miyamoto led the 65-60 group with a 79, four ahead of Aussie David Cherry with Viray tied for fifth with 86 and Korean Junkee Lee’s 79 put him on top of the 70-above class with Garcia at third with 83.