GRANT Jackson of England and Sweden’s Nils Floren scored 68s to share the lead after one round of the Asian Development Tour’s ICTSI Riviera Classic on Wednesday in Silang, Cavite.
Jackson hit three straight birdies from No. 15, while Floren was four-under through 17 but bogeyed the final hole.
“I just had a solid finish,” said Jackson, who had nines of 34-34.
Local bets Michael Bibat, Elmer Salvador, Robert Pactolerin and Albin Engino and Malaysia’s Arie Irawan stood a shot behind with 69s that for a while stood as the day’s best until Jackson and Floren came in two of the last flights stranded by an hour-long delay due to lightning in the afternoon.
Charles Hong eagled No. 10 and birdied the next but the ICTSI Sherwood Hills champion made four bogeys at the front, needing to birdie the ninth to save an even-par 71 in a tie with Thai Sattaya Supupramai, England’s Peter Richardson, Aussie Darren Tan and young local aces Miguel Tabuena and Keanu Jahns.
“We were a bit lucky to have drawn the morning tee-off when conditions were still fair. But it’s really tough out there as the greens remain super fast,” said Bibat.
For a while, Salvador appeared headed for an explosive start in the US$60,000 ADT event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. after blitzing the back nine with four birdies for a 32. But he lost his rhythm at the front and reeled back with two bogeys.
“I had a solid iron game at the back and made four birdies from close range (inside six feet) but lost my touch in the last nine holes,” said Salvador, who failed to return a pair of five-footers for par on Nos. 2 and 9.
After spending much of his campaign on the Philippine Golf Tour trying to simply survive cuts, Pactolerin now hopes to fight for the top prize of $10,500 as the former Philippine Open champion and many-time Philippine Masters winner put himself in early contention with three birdies at the back, negating a bogey-mishap on No. 2.
“I was even surprised by my game. But that’s golf and it’s a good feeling to be among the early leaders,” said Pactolerin, who showed up flightmates Luke Bangerter of England (73) and Swede Malcolm Kokocinksi (73) with birdies on Nos. 11, 13 and 16.
Engino, way down in 32nd in the current PGT money list, actually produced the most explosive windup in the morning group, a five-under 31 that negated a three-over 38 start.
Like Salvador, the 24-year-old Irawan sizzled at the back with a 33 but stumbled with two bogeys against a birdie to settle for a 69 and a share of the lead in the event serving as the sixth leg of both the ADT and the PGT.
Tony Lascuna struggled with a new driver and was lucky to salvage a one-over 72 and stay just three shots off the pace.
“I thought I could score with the help of a new driver but I instead made four errant drives at the frontside that’s why I settled for 3- and 5-wood off the tee,” rued Lascuna. “But despite a 72, I’m still within striking distance.”
Thais Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Poosit Supupramai, Suppakorn Uthaipat, and Pijit Petchkasem also scored 72 in the event backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG with ABS-CBN Sports & Action, Balls and Inquirer Golf as media partners