Danny Masrin came out with the best card from among the early starters that came in ruffled by the wind and scorching heat, shooting a four-under 68 and seizing a two-stroke lead over Jun Bernis and two others at the start of the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martirez, Cavite on Wednesday.
Masrin bucked the blustery condition that lashed the par-72 layout all day, birdying the opening hole and gunning down three more from close range in the next 10 holes to seize early control. He stumbled with a bogey on the tough No. 5 but hit a superb iron shot to within six feet for another birdie on the seventh.
With a 35-33 card, the 22-year-old Masrin, who had two top 10 finishes in his first seven tournaments in this year’s Asian Development Tour, got past Bernis, who gained a shared view of the top with an eagle-spiked 32 start at the front only to tumble with back-to-back bogeys from No. 13 and end up with a 70.
“The wind was strong and the condition was humid. It was a pretty good round with this kind of condition,” said Masrin, a 22-year-old Indonesian-American, who is coming off a so-so joint 42nd place finish in last week’s ICTSI Manila Southwoods, the first of two ADT events sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“I had no problem with my game. Everything is in place – putting, iron and short game complemented with each other. The greens are in perfect condition designed for this tournament,” said Masrin, a graduate of business management at Bradley University in Illinois.
Bernis, the former national champion who missed the cut in the first two legs of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour and didn’t see action at Southwoods, actually fell farther back with another bogey on the 17th but rebounded with a closing birdie to stay in early contention in the 72-hole championship co-organized by ADT and Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Michael Bibat fought back from back-to-back bogeys from No. 2 with three birdies in the next four holes, strung up a slew of pars, including a couple of up-and-down feats, before birdying the last hole to join Bernis and Aussie Gavin Fairfax, who tied Tony Lascuna at 30th at Southwoods, at second.
With a one-over card with six holes to play at the front, Fairfax, who negated a bogey on No. 14 with an eagle on the next, strung up three straight birdies from No. 4 and added another on the par-5 eighth but missed grabbing solo second with a bogey on the ninth.
Only six others carded a 71 and another six players matched par as majority of the 120-player starting field struggled and wobbled to salvage pars in the heat and wind from tee-off.
Yuka Sudo of Japan had a two-under card after 16 holes but bogeyed the last two to fall to 72 with Samuel Chien, Paul Harris and Jarin Todd of the US, and locals Marvin Dumandan and James Ryan Lam.
Lascuna, who had vowed to atone for his joint 30th place finish at Southwoods, still failed to find his rhythm, making three bogeys against two birdies for a 73 to drop into a big group of one-over scores at 18th.
“I couldn’t do right out there. The wind was strong right on the first hole but given this condition, it was a good score,” said Lascuna, tasked to carry the load for the hosts in the absence of Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que, who are both campaigning in Japan along with Southwoods’ winner Gavin Green of Malaysia.
American Lexus Keoninh, who missed the cut at Southwoods, had thought he had the challenging course all figured out as he birdied the first three holes, only he failed to figure out what went wrong after double-bogeying Nos. 5 and 9 and closing out with four bogeys at the back to fall from the top to joint 62nd in the $60,000 event backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade and Champion.
Jay Bayron, a former ADT Order of Merit winner, opened with an eagle on the par-5 15th but went bogey-birdie-double bogey in the next three before settling down a bit at the front with two birdies against a bogey to lead the 71 scorers.
They included Randy Garalde, Swede Oscar Zetterwall, Finland’s Janne Kaske, Japanese Akihiko Hashizume and Rico Depilo, who missed joining the second group with a bogey on the ninth.
Other notables who faltered in demanding condition were American John Michael O’Toole (74), Rufino Bayron, Mars Pucay, Charles Hong and amateur Yuto Katsuragawa, who all had 75s, Elmer Salvador and Clyde Mondilla, who limped with 77s, Jobim Carlos (78) and Southwoods’ joint runner-up Deng Shan Koh of Singapore, who skied to a 79.