FERDIE AUNZO and Monchit Mackay fired a two-under 70 and took a two-stroke lead over three other teams at the start of the P1 million Davao National Pro-Am on Tuesday.
Starting out on No. 10, Aunzo, who honed his talent and skills at the Apo layout, and Mackay bucked a bogey on the par-5 14th with birdies on Nos. 15, 16 and 18 before settling for an even 36 at the front for that 70 in the alternate-shot format event.
Jhonnel Ababa, another homegrown pro, and Benjie Leparto matched par 72 and forged a three-way tie for second with the Paul Minoza-Francis Morilla and Albin Engino-Edsel Tan tandems in the 54-hole tournament.
Tony Lascuna and Elmer Salvador, the top two fancied pros in the 107-team field, struggled with over par scores and will need to rebound in the last two rounds to get a crack at the top P172,000 purse.
Salvador, winner of two legs on the local circuit including the Aboitiz Invitational in Cebu last month, failed to get his game going with partner Ryan Gotan and wound up with a 77 (38-39). Lascuna, leader of the local tour’s Order of Merit, never recovered from a bogey-bogey start at the back with Den-Den Castro, hobbling with a 78 (38-40).
Frankie Minoza and Ting Castillo also struggled, combining for a 76 on two 38s for a share of 16th place.
Miguel Ochoa got a big boost from top amateur John Kier Abdon as they pooled a 73 to trail Aunzo and Mackay by just three in a tie with the pairs of Boboy Jaraula-Reymond Jaraula and Christopher delos Santos-Kim Tae Woo.
Scoring 74s were Ramil Bisera-Micah Shin, Louie Dacudao-Bayani Garcia, Jun Bernis-Paul Garcia and Edwin Saban-Ian Pacquin while rookie pro Johvan Abano and Joel Langgamin assembled a 75 for joint 15th with Rey Pagunsan-Boy Paduano, Solomon Gines-Oliver Gan and Renegade Casas-Tibor Marcelino.
Joining Minoza and Castillo at 76 were Mhark Fernando-Ais Fernando, Rene Menor-Boy Saldana Jr., Eddie Salvador-Mike Enriquez and 2010 pro champion Edgar Ababa-Oscarlito Ababa.
Jay Bayron and Joe Marfori had an 84 and in danger of missing the cut.