GETTING a huge lift from the six-under-par 66 of Jonathan Delos Reyes, Team Philippines seized a share of the first-round lead with Singapore in the Putra Cup golf championship at Sherwood Hills on Thursday in Trece Martirez, Cavite.
With the 19-year-old shooting the lights out, the Filipinos posted a three-under-par 213 in team play counting the level 72 of Jobim Carlos and either of the 75s from Rico Hoey and reigning national champion Rupert Zaragosa.
No one in the field came close to matching Delos Reyes’ sparkling round, with Singapore’s Mark Ong and the celebrated Gavin Green of Malaysia returning 70s, though Green didn’t get the support he needed to propel the Malaysians higher than fourth.
Carlos birdied the 18th from about 12 feet to salvage his level-par card, while Delos Reyes kept the Philippines tied for the lead by saving par from about six feet, a situation he put himself in after missing the green short from just under 100 yards.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Delos Reyes, who eagled the par-5 12th from the fringe. “I know I hit that shot pure. It just fell short.”
Jerome Ng submitted a 71 and Jonathan Woo fired a 72 for Singapore’s 213, even as defending champion Thailand registered 216 behind the 71s from Danthai Boonma and Sansaksin Poom, and either 74s of Chanachok Dejpiratanamoi and Itthipat Buranatanyarat counting as the third score.
Malaysia pooled a 218 with the 73 of Abel Tam and the 75 of Albright Chong counting for 218.
Zaragosa and Hoey were clearly not in their elements. Zaragosa, who broke par in all four rounds on the same course in ruling the Philippine Amateurs two weeks ago, was never the same after finding the left-side lagoon off the tee on the 10th.
“It was just all downhill from there,” the 15-year-old said before a quick lunch and a practice session at the driving range with father-coach Boyet Zaragosa. “I just couldn’t hit a good shot after that. The bogey (on the 10th) didn’t affect me (mentally), I just couldn’t swing right.”
The 72-hole championship is being backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Amateur Golf Tour, PSC, POC, Philippine Golf Foundation, DOT, Pancake House, Asia Brewery, Turf Company, Sligo, Ping, Intramachineries Doosan, Suntrust, Crimson Hotel and Golf Depot.
Hoey, a University of Southern California recruit, returned to the clubhouse totally dejected, never having a good stretch all day.
“I’m sorry, I can’t say much,” Hoey said before excusing himself from reporters and heading straight to the range. “I felt like I was in a slump all day.”
Though Delos Reyes was the runaway leader for the day, all eyes were on the 20-year-old Green, regarded as the finest amateur in the Southeast Asian region.
“It’s not bad for the first day, there’s a lot of golf left,” Green said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine women’s team fired a 150 and trailed Singapore by three shots in Santi Cup play even as the national girls’ squad assembled a 144 to stand one shot off Thailand in the Kartini Cup.
Regina De Guzman fired a 73 and Simone Hoey, despite playing with a fever, shot a 77 and matched Katrina Briones in the three-to-play two-to-count event.
Singapore got 70 from Amanda Tan and 77 from Sock Hwee Kho to take the top spot at 147.
In the Kartini Cup, Thailand got 71 from Pharinda Phokan and 72 from Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphi for a first-round 143.
Bianca Pagdanganan shot a 70 and Pauleen Del Rosario scored 74. Princess Superal’s 77 did not count.