Rupert Zaragosa and Luigi Guerrero rode on a pair of fiery frontside assaults to shoot identical four-under 68s and wrest control in the men’s side while three shared the women’s lead at the start of the 2016 Philippine Amateur Open Match Play Golf Championship at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in Dasmariñas, Cavite yesterday.
Zaragosa, seeking a follow-up to his victory in the first MVPSF Visayas Regional Match Play in Cebu two weeks ago, gunned down three birdies in the first nine holes and closed out with two more against a bogey in scorching heat to pace the 36-hole stroke play elims of the annual event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, PLDT and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and hosted by Ochard Golf and Country Club.
Guerrero actually turned in a more impressive start in a flight ahead as he rattled off four birdies at the front then went five-under with another birdie on the 10th. He, however, slowed down when playing conditions got tougher and tumbled with two bogeys, needing to birdie the par-5 18th to gain a piece of the lead.
Ace Stehmeier fought back from a shaky 39 with a solid 32 as he led the 71 scorers who included Rolando Pila and Jelbert Gamolo while Ryan Monsalve, who placed second to Zaragosa in Cebu, carded a 73 for joint sixth with Lanz Atienza Uy and Tom Kim of Korea, while Joseph Orbito made a 74 and Mark Lu and Noel Langamin turned in similar 75s.
Kim, coming off a victory in the Philippine Junior Amateur Open Golf Championship (Strokeplay) two weeks ago, held his ground against Zaragosa, hitting two birdies in the first five holes only to fumble with two bogeys in the next four. He rebounded with back-to-back birdies from No. 12 but fell back with a bogey on No. 14 and a double-bogey on the 17th.
Japanese Yuto Katsuragawa struggled on an unfamiliar turf and turned in a four-over 76 marred by a double bogey on the last hole. But the back-to-back low amateur winner of the Asian Development Tour events the last two weeks remained in the hunt for berths in the knockout phase at joint 12th.
Kristine Torralba, Jona Magcalayo and Nicole Abelar, meanwhile, shot identical 78s to share the women’s lead with Korean A Eun Koh in fourth with an 81 and Diana Araneta carding an 82 for fifth.
Hwang Min Jeong, another Korea and winner of a ladies pro event last year, also wavered with an 83 while Tomi Arejola and Eagle Ace Superal submitted identical 85s in the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and held as PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour.
Korean Lee Jin Gon, on the other hand, took charge in the seniors category with an 81, two shots clear off Alan Alegre and Jose Inigo while Lino Magpantay made an 85.
Other 76 scorers in the men’s side were Nathan Kawpeng, Don Petil, John Jun, Marc Corrales, Ricar Candinato and Takuya Kawamura.