Paolo Wong dished out top form and sizzled with a bogey-free five-under 67 to wrest a one-stroke lead over defending champion Jolo Magcalayo at the start of the 17th Canlubang Amateur Open at the Canlubang Golf and Country Club’s South course in Laguna on Wednesday.
Wong rattled off three birdies at the front then sustained his charge and added two more at the back as the Manila Southwoods bet completed a 33-34 card for the early lead in the 54-hole tournament put up annually by the host club and the Yulo family as part of their continuing effort to help develop the sport and provide the young players a venue where they could develop their skills.
Magcalayo also turned in an impressive start, gunning down five birdies to negate his bogey-mishap on No. 7 as the club bet stayed on course for a title repeat in the premier Championship Division.
Gido Mandanas, another club entry, birdied the last hole to card a 70 for third, three strokes behind Wong, while Edsel Opulencia matched par 72 for fourth.
Meanwhile, action in the other divisions, including the ladies and the Classes A, B and C, starts today with the Class A event also set at South and the rest to be played at the adjacent North layout of the huge golf complex.
Korean Back Seung Hyeon of Alabang and Cangolf’s Jonas Magcalayo both birdied No. 19 to share fifth with 73s while Paolo Barro of Villamor carded a 74.
Orchard’s Kim Tae Soo wavered at the back with a 39 and wound up with a 76 in a tie with Rodolfo Brobio of Forest Hills, while Sean Ramos, also from Orchard, struggled with a 40 start and lay 10 strokes off the pace with a 77.
Wong, a regular campaigner in various national championships, birdied No. 3 and came away with back-to-back birdie feats from No. 7 to take control. He birdied the par-5 11th and rammed in another birdie on No. 14.
Jolo Magcalayo kept Wong in sight with birdies on Nos. 4 and 6 and after dropping a stroke on the seventh, he birdied the ninth then hit two more birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 to stay in the early hunt.