JAPAN'S Mitsuhiko Hazishume went on a birdie-binge early and hit an eagle but lost his rhythm coming out of a two hour-long rain delay and made a bogey on No. 7 en route to a four-under 68 and a share of the lead with Carl Santos-Ocampo at the start of the Orchard Golf Championship on Wednesday.
Hashizume, 28, took advantage of an early tee-off at the Orchard’s Palmer Course and fired three birdies at the back then gunned down an eagle on No. 2 and added another birdie on the fifth to negate a missed-green bogey on No. 1.
But heavy mid-morning rains spawned by Typhoon Helen rendered the fairways soggy and submerged some of the greens, forcing tournament director Jittisak Tramprasert of the Asian Development Tour to suspend play in the US$60,000 tournament serving as the eighth leg of the fledgling circuit.
At resumption, however, Hashizume bogeyed the par-3 No. 7 before closing out with back-to-back pars to find himself on top of the heap, while most of the big guns including Elmer Salvador and Tony Lascuna have yet to complete play.
Santos-Ocampo put himself in early contention with a 34-34 card spiked by four birdies, including on three of the four par-5s, but marred by two bogeys, including one at the par-5 18th.
Still, the Fil-Am bet managed to hold on to a share of the lead in the 72-hole championship, one stroke ahead of Singapore’s Quincy Quek, who like the rest of the field, sputtered at resumption of play at the front, settling for a 36 after an impressive 33 at the back for a 69.
Rufino Bayron, who went on a slump after humbling the pros as an amateur to win the Valley leg of the Philippine Golf Tour in late 2008, proved flawless in another early morning start. He made the turn at 32 on a four-birdie binge in a five-hole stretch from No. 3 only to fall back with bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18.
He dropped to 70 in a tie with Rey Pagunsan, a former amateur hotshot also trying to end a long victory drought, who bucked an opening hole bogey with six birdies against one more bogey in the next 15 holes.
But like Hashizume and Bayron, he came out cold at resumption and bogeyed the last two holes to slip to joint fourth with Charles Davies of Wales, Korean Lee Hay-yeul and rookie pro Clyde Mondilla.