GEN. TRIAS, CAVITE – Jay Bayron fired an eagle-spiked three-under 69 then watched Marvin Dumandan bogey the 18th of the Norman course to force a two-way tie for the lead on Tuesday at the start of the P3 million ICTSI Eagle Ridge Classic at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club.
Bayron, seeking a second victory in three legs of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour after coming from behind to beat brother Rufino at ICTSI Splendido last month, recovered from a bogey start with an eagle on the par-5 No. 3 and three birdies against another bogey for a 34-35 card.
Majority in the starting 93-player roster found the going tough at both the Norman and Faldo courses despite the absence of the strong wind, with the two layouts’ unreceptive greens and tough pin placements producing a slew of three-putt miscues.
Only seven players broke par while just three shot 72s in an otherwise fine day at the sprawling golf complex. The field, divided into two, switches courses in Wednesday's second round with the top 40 plus ties moving into the final two rounds at the Aoki course.
“Hindi naman masyado mahangin pero ang hirap basahin ng greens. Magulo tingnan kasi di mo makita ang breaks. Mukhang sa putting na naman ang labanan this week,” said Bayron, who birdied two of Norman’s last five holes.
The former Order of Merit winner three-putted No. 1 but hacked a 3-wood second shot from 280 yards to within 10 feet and made it for eagle. He rolled in an eight footer for birdie on the fourth, made another three-putt bogey on No. 11 before rolling a pair of 15-footers on Nos. 14 and 16 for birdies.
Dumandan, out to snap a long title spell in the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., gunned down five birdies inside seven feet, including a flubbed eagle putt from 16 feet on No. 11, but reeled back with two bogeys, including a muffed par-putt from seven feet after missing the 18th green that could’ve given him the solo lead.
“Sayang, lamang na ako going to No. 18,” said Dumandan, who beat Bayron to nail his last win at ICTSI John Hay in 2011. “Matigas ang greens pero maganda ang putting, pumapasok kahit malayo.”
Dante Becierra, the former Hong Kong Amateur Open winner still in search of a maiden win in the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized circuit, shot five birdies against three bogeys at Faldo to seize solo third at 70 while fancied Tony Lascuna birdied Faldo’s last hole to card a 71 for joint fourth with Clyde Mondilla, Orlan Sumcad and former OOM champion Elmer Salvador.
Angelo Que, priming up for next week’s rich Malaysian Open, rammed in three birdies against a bogey in the first six holes at Norman but fumbled with three bogeys against a birdie in the last 12 holes, settling for a 72 for a share of eighth with Miguel Ochoa and Charles Hong.
Artemio Murakami went four-under after nine holes at Norman but blew it all with five bogeys at the back, including the last four holes for a 73.
He dropped to joint 11th with Frankie Minoza, Paul Echavez, Ferdie Aunzo, Carl Santos-Ocampo and Korean Gyuha Park, who also blew a two-under card with three bogeys in the last three holes at Norman.
Jun Rates, who humbled the elite field to rule the ICTSI John Hay Championship two weeks ago in Baguio, groped for form at the longer, tougher Faldo layout, fumbled with two double-bogeys and four bogeys against two birdies for a 76 while The Country Club Invitational champion Cassius Casas hobbled with a 77 and young gun Miguel Tabuena sputtered with a 78 marred by a quadruple bogey on par-4 No. 16.