MHARK Fernando fired a bogey-free six-under 65 to take a share of the lead with two others in the first round of the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship on Wednesday in Carmona, Cavite.
Play was delayed for an hour due to threat of lightning and Fernando picked up where he left off when action resumed, hitting birdie on the par-3 No. 16. He wound up tied with Thailand’s Natthapong Niyomchon and Japan’s Taichi Nabetani, who took advantage of calm conditions early.
Niyomchon hit four straight birdies from No. 3 before holing out with back-to-back birdies. He actually fumbled with two bogeys on Nos. 11 and 15 but made birdies on Nos. 9 and 13.
Nabetani also leaned on a fiery start of back-to-back birdies and closed out his frontside stint with two more birdies. He reeled back with an unlikely bogey on No. 10 but hit three more birdies.
Thailand’s Pijit Petchkasem and Pannakorn Uthaipas, and Malaysian Gavin Green shot 66s.
Former amateur star Jobim Carlos, looking to bounce back after missing the cut in his pro debut at Luisita, shot a four-under 67, which was matched by Zanieboy Gialon, Albin Engino and Michael Bibat, Thailand’s Nirun Sae-ueng and Suradit Yongcharoenchai and Japan’s Masaru Takahashi.
Mars Pucay fired a three-under 68 for joint 14th with Thai Poom Saksansin, Malaysians Baxter Reeves, John Jackson, John Catlin, Thai Ekthumrong Luanganuruk and Indonesian Ian Andrew.
Natthapong’s sibling Donlaphatchai Niyomchon shot a 69 to join Japan’s Yuta Sudo, China’s Cao Yi, Thailand’s Kasidit Lepkurte and Mitchel Slorach.
Miguel Tabuenashot a one-over 72 for joint 59th in his return after withdrawing from the Luisita Championship two weeks ago with a bad back.
Tony Lascuña struggled with his putter all day and settled for an even par 71. He hit three birdies but bogeyed the par-3 16th and dropped two shots on the par-4 No. 5 when he overshot the green, hit a fat third shot and made it in four and two-putted.
“I just couldn’t putt and missed at least four birdie chances,” said Lascuña.
Petchkasem blazed the frontside with an eagle-aided six-under 30 to offset his double-bogey on No. 16.