CLYDE Mondilla took up from where he left off, blasting in a bogey-free five-under 67 to take a share of the lead with unfancied Joenard Rates and Reymon Jaraula in the first round of the P2 million ICTSI Calatagan Invitational on Wednesday in Calatagan.
The three are one stroke ahead of Tony Lascuna and Jhonnel Ababa.
Mondilla, winer at Eastridge two weeks ago, hit a pair of back-to-back birdies from Nos. 13, got two straight again from No. 2 and adding another on the par-4 sixth hole.
The 23-year-old Mondilla took a conservative approach on the tight, up-and-down layout, opting for a 3-iron off the mound on most long holes while coming through with solid iron shots.
“Clyde is hitting it quite long and solid with a 3-iron. But I also feel good about my chances, especially now that I’ve got my putting touch back,” said Lascuna, who birdied three of the last four holes on the front nine. He could’ve tied for the lead but muffed a six-footer on No. 8.
Rates spiked his round with an eagle on the par-5 No. 4 to go five-under with five holes left. The diminutive shotmaker, still in search for a follow-up to his breakthrough win at Camp John Hay in 2012, took a bogey on the next but drilled in another birdie on the par-3 eighth.
Jaraula hit back-to-back birdies from No. 5, birdied the two par-3s on the back and hit another on the par-5 13th.
Ababa birdied three of the last five holes to stay in early contention for the top prize of P360,000 in the 72-hole championship.
Elmer Salvador shot a 69 for solo sixth, while Japan’s Yuta Sudo emerged as the top foreign bet in the 75-player starting field at seventh with a 70 in the tournament sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.