Jay Bayron hit three birdies on the front nine and traded a birdie for a bogey on the back for a 69 to take a share of the lead with Asian Tour campaigner Mars Pucay in the first round of the P1 million ICTSI Eastridge Classic.
The hot-starting Bayron now looks to stay on top for the next two days and avoid a collapse similar to the one he suffered at the Eagle Ridge Invitational two weeks ago when he took control early only to shoot himself in the foot with a closing 77.
Pucay had nines of 34-35 and put his name on top of a crowded leaderboard that features some of the best players in the country.
Three-time Asian Tour winner Angelo Que hit four birdies in the last six holes, including three straight from No. 13, to finish the day in joint third at 70.
His score was matched by teen sensation Miguel Tabuena, who also rallied with a 34 on his last nine holes.
Tony Lascuna, winner at Eagle Ridge, birdied the par-5 18th to salvage a 71 and tie Dante Becierra, Jomar Pepito, Dino Salvador, Charles Hong and Elmer Salvador, winner of the Sherwood leg last month.
Defending champion Juvic Pagunsan had a miserable start with two double bogeys and a bogey against a lone birdie at the front. He had a 34 on the homeward nine and stood five strokes off the joint leaders at 74.
Pagunsan, on a break from the Japan PGA Tour where he finished joint fourth in last week’s Citibank Cup in Ibaraki, birdied Nos. 10, 13 and 15 but fumbled with a bogey on the par-3 16th.
Marvin Dumandan, chasing a second leg win after running away with the John Hay title last April, holed out with a birdie to save a 72 and lead a big group at even par including Jhonnel Ababa, Gene Bondoc, Christopher delos Santos, Anthony Fernando, Mhark Fernando, Clyde Mondilla, Orlan Sumcad and Ruben Sasutil.