JERSON Balasabas birdie four of the last five holes and posted a bogey-free 66 to take a share of the lead with Tony Lascuna and Zanieboy Gialon in the first round of the Eagle Ridge Invitational on Tuesday in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
Balasabas, still in search of a breakthrough win on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, hit three three straight birdies from No. 5.
Gialon also had a bogey-free round, highlighted by back-to-back birdies from No. 16, while Tony Lascuna came out of a rain delay in shaky form, fumbling with a bogey on the 18th.
“Everything worked perfectly well for me, especially my driving,” said Balasabas.
The three were a stroke ahead of Marvin Dumandan in the P2 million tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. offering a top prize of P360,000.
Lascuna birdied the par-3 17th before play was halted due to rain. He missed the green on the last hole and failed to get up-and-down, settling for a six-under card.
“I misread my putt on No. 18 but overall I had a good game, good putting,” said Lascuña, eyeing a follow-up to his Luisita Championship romp in April.
“But we’re closely bunched together so it’s going to be exciting in the next three days.”
Dumandan hit four birdies in a five-hole stretch from No. 12 then closed out with birdie on No. 9.
Clyde Mondilla, chasing a rare three-straight romp after winning the ICTSI Manila Masters at Eastridge and Calatagan Invitational the last three weeks, fired a 68 highlighted by eagle on the par-5 sixth hole.
Mondilla was tied for fifth with Jun Bernis.
Orlan Sumcad, Artemio Murakami and John Kier Abdon carded 69s, while Dutchman Guido Van der Valk, Japan’s Ryoma Miki and local aces Mhark Fernando, Charles Hong, Joenard Rates and Kris Etter shot 70s in the tournament backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.