Jolo Magcalayo birdied the last two holes to fire a 71 and seize a two-stroke lead over Kristoffer Arevalo and three others even as Yuka Saso and Harmie Constantino forged ahead in women’s play in the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play Golf Championship elims at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in Dasmariñas, Cavite on Monday.
Magcalayo, who placed sixth in last week’s Phl Amateur Open Strokeplay Championship at Sherwood, fumbled with two bogeys at the frontside of the Player’s course. But the 15-year-old De La Salle-Zoble standout rebounded with three birdies in the last nine, including the final two, to find himself the surprise leader in the 36-hole stroke play qualifier of the annual event held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation.
Arevalo also birdied the last hole to card a 73 and tie fancied Rupert Zaragosa, Luis Castro and Aniceto Mandanas at second while Carlo Villaroman wavered with a 41 for a 75 while Dan Cruz, Jonas Magcalayo and Richnell Albano all shot 76s and Ralph Lauron made a 77 to stay in the hunt for spots in the knockout phase which starts tomorrow (Wednesday).
Defending champion Noel Langamin groped for form in hot condition and shot a 78 for joint 11th with Liam Cully and Korean Choi Da Bin but also remained in the race for match play berths.
Saso, meanwhile, struggled a bit and carded a 74 to share the opening round lead with fellow national team mainstay Constantino in the women’s side of the annual tournament organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific Investment.
Saso, who ran away with a record 13-shot victory last week, gunned down two birdies but hobbled with four bogeys to turn in a 37-37, the same card put in by Constantino as the duo posted a four-stroke lead over Sophia Blanco, who made a 78.
Kayla Nocum, Alex Etter and Korean Kim Hui Won all shot 80s, Kristine Torralba groped with an 81 while Sunshine Zhang and Korean Yang Ju Young stayed in the hunt for match play slots despite a pair of 83s.
The top 32 after 36 holes of stroke play in the men’s division and top 16 in the women’s side will advance to the match play phase.
Villaroman actually turned in the best start of 34 but dropped two strokes on No. 10 and limped with three bogeys from No. 15 to wind up with a 75, enabling Magcalayo to surge ahead with a closing 33 and Arevalo, Zaragosa, Castro and Mandanas to move to joint second with those 73s.