Ira Alido one stroke ahead of Rupert Zaragosa, three others after opening round at Canlubang
Ira Alido hits four birdies and two bogeys to set the pace. 

IRA Alido fired a two-under 70 for a one-stroke lead over Rupert Zaragosa and three others at the start of the W Express RVF Cup Amateur Golf Championship at Canlubang Golf’s North course on Tuesday in Laguna.

Mikha Fortuna and Bernice Olivarez-Ilas shot 74s to lead the women’s side.

Alido birdied Nos. 6 and 8 then survived a roller-coaster back nine run of two birdies against the same number of bogeys to turn in a 34-36 card and set the early pace in the 72-hole championship.

Weiwei Gao matched Alido’s front nine 34 but wavered at the finish, bogeying the last two holes to drop to joint second at 71 with Paolo Wong, Jolo Magcalayo and Zaragosa.

Wong rallied with birdies on Nos. 11 and 14 to close out with a 34, Magcalayo birdied No. 17 for nines of 35-36, while Zaragosa, out to atone for a string of so-so finishes in recent tournaments, hit three birdies against two bogeys to get into the mix.

Kai Yasuma shot a 72 for solo sixth while fellow Japanese golfer Yuto Katsuragawa, winner of two tournaments late last year, fumbled with five bogeys and one double bogey against two birdies for a 77, seven shots off the pace.

Carl Corpus and Ryan Monsalve carded 74s, Carlo Gatmaytan, Luis Castro and Dan Cruz had 75s, while Korea’s Won Yong Hwi and Paolo Barro stood six strokes off the pace after 76s.

Fortuna and Ilas led national team mainstays Harmie Constantino and Yuka Saso in women’s play of the event held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, Cignal and Metro Pacific Investments.

Fortuna, who hobbled with two bogeys in a birdie-less first nine, birdied the eighth but missed grabbing the solo lead, suffering a final hole bogey.

Ilas, winner of a Ladies Philippine Golf Tour event last year, rebounded from a double-bogey on No. 18 with a two-birdie, two-bogey effort on her homeward nine.

Constantino blew a one-shot lead with a double-bogey on No. 6 and a bogey on the next and slipped into a tie with Saso, the reigning national champion, who struck back from a disastrous 39 at the back with a gutsy even 36.

Korea’s Hwang Min-jeong, who also won a pro tournament in 2015, joined Saso and Constantino at third.

Kristine Torralba was two shots adrift at 76 while Junia Gabasa and Tomita Arejola shot 77s and Alex Etter and Pauline Del Rosario stood a shot farther back at 78 in the tournament organized by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and held in honor of the late golf patron and former NGAP president Rod Feliciano.


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