Jay Bayron and Marvin Dumandan took charge with identical 67s fashioned out on fiery windups on both nines in sun and rain as they wrested a one-stroke lead over an equally hot-finishing Rufino Bayron at the start of the ICTSI Classic at Mt. Malarayat composite course in Lipa, Batangas on Wednesday.
Teeing off at Mt. Malipunyo serving as the backside, Jay Bayron bucked a double-bogey mishap on No. 14 with seven birdies, including four at Mt. Lobo capped by a three-footer on the par-5 ninth that tied the back-to-back winner at Aboitiz Invitational and ICTSI Riviera Classic with Dumandan.
The power-hitting Dumandan, seeking an end to a long title spell in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI, anchored his strong start in the P2 million event on a fiery windup at Mt. Malipunyo, a four-under 32 he spiked with an eagle on the par-5 17th.
“I feel confident, especially with my driving. I can now control my shots and my putting has been very steady,” said Dumandan, who tied for ninth at Riviera.
He actually set his bid with two birdies in the first four holes but stumbled with a bogey on the seventh before birdying Nos. 10 and 14 then knocked a rescue shot from 260 yards to pin-length high for eagle on the 17th and a 67.
Jay Bayron matched that five-under card minutes later with the hottest player on the circuit, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., also coming back from a 36 start at the back with five birdies, including back-to-back feats from No. 1, another pair from close ranges on Nos. 5 and 7 before closing out with another on the ninth.
Rufino Bayron, also out to snap a two-year title drought, likewise put himself in early contention with a scorching windup of four birdies in the last seven holes, including three straight from No. 12, as the 2014 ICTSI Orchard Championship ADT winner carded 68 to stay within one off the joint leaders.
Clyde Mondilla came charging back in the last flight with three birdies in the last five holes to save a two-under 70 and tie Benjie Magada, Orlan Sumcad, Mars Pucay, Jobim Carlos and Dutch Guido Van der Valk at fourth.
Mondilla, whose game took a downswing after scoring back-to-back wins at Eastridge and Calatagan, appeared headed for another so-so start with 37 at the back but got back into the thick of things with birdies on Nos. 5, 7 and 9.
But Tony Lascuña, who beat Jay Bayron and Mondilla by six here last year, struggled with his putting and settled for three birdies against two bogeys for a 71, four behind Dumandan and Jay.
Other one-under par scorers were Aussie Peter Stojanovski, Efren Robles Jr. and Joenard Rates, who teamed up with Bernard Deriquito, Genio Cheung and Philip Garcia to win Tuesday’s pro-am backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.
Zanieboy Gialon, Charles Hong, Jun Bernis, Erwin Arcillas, Albin Engino, Jerson Balasabas and Dino Villanueva all carded even par 72s while Elmer Salvador continued to grope for form and hobbled with a 73 to drop six strokes behind with Cassius Casas, Keanu Jahns, Jhonnel Ababa, Edward Reyes, Nelson Huerva, Richard Abaring, Michael Bibat, Rico Depilo, James Ryan Lam, Artemio Murakami, Gerald Rosales and Jet Mathay.