JOHN Catlin of the US fired a four-under 68 for a two-stroke lead over Miguel Tabuena, Angelo Que and four others in the first round of the Solaire Philippine Open on Thursday at The Country Club in Laguna.
The 26-year-old Catlin, a winner on the Gateway Tour in the US, hit three straight birdies from No. 6 but stumbled with a bogey on the par-4 ninth.
“It was very difficult because of the wind. To shoot an under-par card is a bonus,” siad Catlin, who had so-so finishes in six tournaments on the Philippine Golf Tour.
“I found the greens just seven or eight times.”
Tabuena and Que were tied for second with Will Cannon of the US, Steve Lewton of England, Japan’s Toru Nakajima, and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, winner of the Solaire Open in 2013 at Wack Wack.
Nicolas Paes, also of the US and now a regular on the Philippine Golf Tour, carded a 71 while Tony Lascuña and Jhonnel Ababa joined Japanese Masahiro Kawamura, Thais Panuwat Muenlek, Settee Prakongvech and Rattanon Wannasrichan and Blake Snyder of the US at 10th with even par 72s in the $400,000 championship sponsored by Solaire Resort and Casino.
Australia’s Marcus Both, winner of the 2014 Philippine Open at Wack Wack, had a 73 and was tied with Indonesian Rory Hie, Thais Gunn Charoenkul, Chinnarat Phadungsil, Thaworn Wiratchant and Nattaat Sujavanakorn, Lionel Weber of France, Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh and Malaysia’s Arie Irawan.
Two-time Philippine Open winner Frankie Miñoza fired a 74 and was tied with Malaysian Rizal Amin, Brett Munson, Johannes Veerman and Sam Cyr of the US, South Africa’s Mathiam Keyser and Thailand’s Poosit Supupramai in the tournament held in cooperation with Meralco and PLDT.