Tom Kim put in a near-flawless eagle-spiked six-under 66 and took a huge four-stroke lead over Aniceto Mandanas, Carl Corpus and Jolo Magcalayo at the start of the 23rd W Express RVF Cup Amateur Open Golf Championship at Cangolf’s North course in Canlubang on Tuesday.
Harmie Constantino also set her title-retention drive in motion with an even par 72 as she shared the early lead with Bernice Ilas in women’s play of the 72-hole championship held in honor of the late golf patron and former NGAP president Rod Feliciano.
Kim, seeking a follow-up to his one-stroke victory over Luis Castro in the Philippine Amateur Championship at Riviera last month, hit a pitch-in eagle on the first hole then gunned down five birdies, including three in the last five, to negate a lone bogey on No. 13 and wrest early control in the event backed by the MVP Sports Foundation and serving as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour.
Mandanas rallied at the back with a 33, Corpus blew a three-under card with a bogey on the par-5 17th while Magcalayo squandered a 33 start as the troika carded identical 70s.
Gabby Malaguim and Jonas Magcalayo turned in a pair of 71s for joint fifth while Martin Mendoza and Carlo Villaroman shot similar 73s and Masaichi Otake, Aidric Chan and Paolo Wong hobbled with identical 74s to fall eight strokes off Kim.
Castro, who lost to Kim by one at Riviera, failed to recover from a 39 start and wound up with a 75 in a tie with GJ Katigbak and Sean Ramos in the tournament organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Constantino, meanwhile, hit four birdies but fumbled with two bogeys and a double bogey as she settled for joint lead with Ilas, who fought back from two early bogeys with birdies on Nos. 6 and 8 and parred the backside.
But two Koreans stood just a stroke behind at 73 with Chaeree Lim fumbling with four bogeys against three birdies and Shin Seo Yun hitting three birdies against two bogeys and a double bogey on the par-3 11th.
Sofia Chabon, a teammate of Ilas in The Country Club stable, wavered at the back with two bogeys as she carded a 74 while Nicole Abelar, Kristine Torralba and Korean Kim Seo Yun all shot 76s to stay in early contention along with young Laurea Duque, Daniella Ubasa and Cebu’s Junia Gabasa, who turned in identical 78s.