GUIDO Van der Valk finished strong to card a three-under 69 for a one-stroke lead over Jhonnel Ababa and five others after the first round of the ICTSI Calatagan Golf Challenge on Wednesday in Batangas.
Stuck in the middle of the 81-player pack with an even par card with a bogey on No. 3 coming home, Van der Valk came away with back-to-back birdies from No. 4 then drilled in another on the par-3 eighth.
Ababa hit four birdies and paced the elite field after 12 holes but he bogeyed the par-5 No. 4 on three putts then dropped another stroke on the closing par-4 ninth on a flubbed par putt from a club’s length.
He shared second with Rufino Bayron, Zanieboy Gialon, Gerald Rosales, Ferdie Aunzo and Jay Bayron in the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour event.
Tony Lascuña shot one-under 71, which was matched by Mhark Fernando, Anthony Fernando, Reymon Jaraula, James Ryan Lam, Rolando Marabe Jr., Edward Reyes, Orlan Sumcad, Arnold Villacencio, Americans Lexus Keoninh and Nicolas Paez and Korean amateur Kim Joo Hyung.
Paul Harris of the US and Yuta Sudo of Japan fired 72 for joint 21st with Erwin Arcilla, Rico Depilo, Jelbert Gamolo and Efren Robles Jr. while 12 others joined Mondilla at 27th, including Richard Abaring, Jun Bernis, Paul Echavez, Albin Engino, Nelson Huerva, Cookie La’O, Francis Morilla, Robert Pactolerin, Elmer Salvador, Joeleo Torrecampo, Macedonian Peter Stojanovski and Korea’s Park Jun Sung.
Clyde Mondilla’s bid for a third straight victory suffered a snag with three bogeys in the first four holes at the back. Though he fought back with three birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 15, the Southwoods and Philippine Masters champion fumbled with another bogey on the sixth and ended up with a one-over 73 in the event backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.