JOBIM Carlos overcame a shaky back nine, closing with a birdie for a four-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the ICTSI Philippine Masters on Wednesday at the Villamor Golf Club.
Carlos took advantage of receptive greens and rattled off four straight birdies from No. 6 coming out of a rain delay for a tournament-best opening 30.
But the former amateur hotshot wavered at the back and fumbled with bogeys on Nos. 11, 15 and 16 before birdying the par-5 closing hole for a slim lead over Nicolas Paez of the US and Nathan Park of Australia.
Power-hitting Marvin Dumandan hit six birdies but he stumbled with two bogeys and a double-bogey to settle for 70 and a share of fourth with Fil-German Keanu Jahns and Japan’s Genki Okada and Seiji Yanagisawa.
Tony Lascuña led eight players who shot 71s as the field struggled on soggy fairways of the military layout due to overnight rain.
“I had a fantastic start. I got to spots where I wanted and the greens were soft after the rain in the mid-morning,” said Carlos.
The early starters cashed in on good scoring condition but struggled after the downpour with most opting to play cautious to avoid falling into the rough areas of the tree-lined layout. Only 15 players turned in under-par scores despite playing preferred lies.
Paez hit an odd eagle on No. 2 and made three birdies in the last six holes to negate a bogey-bogey mishap from No. 12.
Park got to four-under early but bogeyed Nos. 11 and 13 and needed to birdie the 18th to stay in joint second in the P2 million event sponsored by ICTSI.
Paez relied on his caddie’s tactic to gun down that eagle on the par-5 11th, which used to be the course’s No. 2, then fought back from back-to-back bogey mishaps from No. 12 with three birdies in the last six holes at the back, including a 25-footer on the ninth, for a 33-36.
“My caddy actually suggested it,” said Paez of the eagle achieved by hitting wedge off the tee to 60 yards, hacking a driver from 278 yards to within eight feet of the cup and sinking the putt.
“I thought it could be done. When I hit it, I knew it would be a great shot.”
Lascuña also found the course tougher, hitting just three birdies while dropping two strokes on the par-4 15th when he drove into the trees, falling to joint eighth with Elmer Salvador, Paul Echavez, Albin Engino, Francis Morilla and Japanese Joichiro Kawada.
Cassius Casas, the last winner of the event in 2000, had a one birdie-one bogey round to lead the players at even par, including former champion Robert Pactolerin, Rufino Bayron, Mhark Fernando, Zanieboy Gialon, Rolando Marabe Jr., Joenard Rates, Nilo Salahog, Joseph Suarez, Koean Kang Chon Coo, Eric Gallardo and Dino Villanueva.
Clyde Mondilla, winner at Southwoods last week, never recovered from a double-bogey start on No. 10 although he came up with back-to-back birdies from No. 14 and bounced back from a bogey mishap on No. 18 with a birdie on No. 2 to join the big group at even par.