FRANKIE Miñoza sank nine birdies, including five straight, to post a seven-under 61 for a two-stroke lead after one round of the ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship on Wednesday in Baguio City.
The 54-year-old Miñoza hit five consecutive birdies from No. 4, although he hit minor bumps when he back-to-back bogeys from No. 11.
Despite getting battered by Miñoza, the par-68 course actually proved tough for majority of the field, with only 25 players from the starting field of 87 breaking par.
Defending champion Jay Bayron, Anthony Fernando, Canada’s Rick Gibson and Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski scored 63s to share second spot in the P2 million championship sponsored by International Container Terminals Services, Inc.
“I hit the fairways consistently. There were about two or three greens that were slow and the rest were fairly fast,” said Miñoza, winner of three local tournaments last year, including back-to-back at the Del Monte and Pueblo de Oro legs of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
“My putting was good except for those bogeys. But I made crucial birdies on Nos. 15 and 17 inside 12 feet,” Miñoza said.
Bayron eyeing a follow-up to his victory in last week’s season opener at Splendido in Tagaytay, had a chance to close in on Miñoza but made bogey on the par-3 closing hole.
“It’s still a good start. I just have to focus on my putting,” said Bayron
Fernando, chasing a breakthrough win in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., birdied two of the last three holes to negate his double-bogey mishap on No. 14 after an errant approach shot into the wooded area, needing to play out and missing a 16-foot putt for bogey.
Gibson eagled the par-5 16th to complete a bogey-free 63, while Kokocinski birdied the last five holes to gain a share of second in the event backed by Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp and FootJoy and media partners Balls TV and ABS-CBN.
Zanie Boy Gialon made a hole-in-one on the 155-yard No. 11 using a Titleist 8-iron and Pro V1 ball and finished at 64, which was matched by Richard Abaring, Jessie Balasabas, Jet Mathay, Jhonnel Ababa and Elmer Salvador. Gialon received a trophy and certificate from John Hay for his feat.
Tony Lascuna also made his move a bit late, ramming in four straight birdies from No. 14 for a three-under 65 in a tie with Clyde Mondilla and Jun Rates while Cassius Casas and Joey Huerva turned in identical 66s.
Angelo Que and Miguel Tabuena fired 67s.