MICAH Shin fired a six-under 65 for a two-stroke lead over Rufino Bayron at the start of the P2 million ICTSI Riviera Classic at the Langer course on Wednesday in Silang, Cavite.
Shin, ninth in last week’s Asian Development Tour event at Wack Wack, put on a superb display of shotmaking and iron play while making the most of the lift, clean and place rule with seven birdies against a bogey.
“I always dream to become a champion that’s why I always give it my best shot. But on this course, I have to hit the center and try to give myself birdie chances,” said Shin.
Bayron, who has had a number of strong starts marred by poor finishes, shot a 67 behind a sizzling backside start.
Clyde Mondilla shot a 69 for joint third with Alvin Engino and Jobim Carlos.
Mondilla, looking to bounce back after a third round pullout at Wack Wack with a back injury, had five birdies in a nine-hole stretch from No. 9, including three straight from No. 15 to go four-under with one hole left.
But the back-to-back winner at Eastridge and Calatagan also failed to join or get past Rufino Bayron, fumbling with a double-bogey on the closing par-4 hole to drop to a share of third.
Carlos, seeking a maiden victory in his rookie season, also stumbled at the finish at the short but tricky, hazard-laden layout, bogeying the last two holes.
Engino suffered three straight bogeys from No. 2, needing to birdie the eighth to grab a share of third.
Jay Bayron, winner of the Aboitiz crown, bogeyed Nos. 14 and 18 and was six strokes off the pace.
Jay Bayron and Jhonnel Ababa hit even par 71s, while Rico Depilo shot a 72 for joint ninth with Rene Menor, Zanieboy Gialon, Arnold Villacencio and American Nicolas Paez in the tournament sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc., and backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.