CEBUANO phenomenon Lloyd Jefferson Go fired a two-under-par 70 on Tuesday to set the pace in the 18th WWWExpress-DHL Amateur Open presented by the MVP Sports Foundation at tree-lined Canlubang North in Laguna.
After recently helping Cebu Country Club to a second-straight victory in the Interclub golf tournament, Go put himself in position to claim a top individual title in a PLDT Group Amateur Golf Tour event.
The 17-year-old traded two birdies for two bogeys on the front nine but picked up shots on the 10th and 11th for a 36-34 card and a one shot lead.
Chris Mamaril and Korean Park Min-ung returned 71s, while former national champion Jik-Jik Abdon matched par to share fourth place with three others including Japanese teenager Gen Nagai, also a member of the Cebu CC squad.
Struggling in the first round were Keanu Jahns with a 75 and Rupert Zaragosa with a 77.
Jahns started off with a bogey and never got back on track, winding up with nines of 38-37.
Zaragosa had a decent start with two pars but dropped a total of four strokes in his next three holes, including three on the short par-4 3rd. He then had two birdies in his next seven holes only to go bogey-bogey from No. 13.
Andres Saldana opened with a dismal 78 for a share of 20th in the tournament backed by Pancake House, Nike, Golf Depot and Pacsports.
The 54-hole women’s event gets going on Wednesday with the whole ICTSI team seeing action.
The multi-titled Dottie Ardina and Jayvee Agojo are the top favorites, with the challenge expected to come former ICTSI team member Andie Unson. Former Philippine Ladies champion Cyna Rodriguez is also in the field.