TOUGH greens limited low scores but Jobim Carlos managed to pull off a blemish-free round and take a one-stroke lead at the start of the 2014 Philippine Amateur Open Golf Championship on Monday at Wack wack Golf and Country Club.
The 21-year-old shotmaker hit 17 greens in regulation but wasn’t able to take full advantage with the hard and tricky greens at the East Course, hitting just one birdie in a bogey-free one-under 71 for a hairline lead over Cebu’s Lloyd Jefferson Go.
Carlos picked up one shot right on the par-4 No. 2, but birdies were tough to make and the University of San Francisco junior settled for nines of 35-36 under overcast skies.
“The greens are hard, hard to get your lines, it was really bumpy,” Carlos said, but he wasn’t being too hard on himself for failing to down more birdies.
“It’s hard to score here… to be able to play a bogey-free round in this course is… very satisfying,” said Carlos.
The sun barely peeked through the heavy clouds at midday but the wind picked up in the early afternoon, adding some challenge to the already demanding layout - home of the Philippine Open.
Go, the 18-year-old star of the Cebu Country Club champion squad in the Interclub Championships, suffered two bogeys in the first four holes before steadying himself with three birdies to catch up with Carlos at one under after 13 holes.
John Kier Abdon came up with a birdie on No. 17 to card a 74 and grab a share of third spot with two Singaporeans — defending champion Jerome Ng and Johnson Poh.
Ng, grouped with Carlos, was even after trading a birdie for a bogey on the outward nine but suffered a bogey-bogey finish and sat three strokes off the pace.
Gabriel Atienza and Luigi Miguel Guerrero were in joint sixth after firing 75s, while Gabriel Manotoc had a 76 and was tied for eighth spot with Koreans Jun Tea Yang and Song Seung Hyo.
The 58-player field will be slightly trimmed to the top 50 and ties after 54 holes, and the top 30 after 54 holes will advance to the final round play.
“I’ll just stick with the same game plan… just hit greens and fairways,” said Carlos, among the favorites to end the three-year title drought for Filipinos in this tournament.
Eleven foreign players are seeing action in the event, with four in the top 10 and three others sitting in the next five spots.
Korea’s Kim In Jae and Singapore’s Marc Ong are tied for 11th spot with local bet Justin Quiban at 77, while Lee Su Hong of Korea fired a 78 and was in joint 14th with Norman de la Pena, Mikey Punsalan, Ricky de los Santos and comebacking former pro Antonio Asistio.
Japanese player Gen Nagai of Cebu, winner of the NGAP’s Visayas Regional Amateurs, had a 78.