UNHERALDED Nilo Salahog and former national player Zanieboy Gialon stole the thunder from the big guns by firing three-under 69s on Wednesday to share the first round lead in the Philippine Golf Tour ICTSI Anvaya Cove Golf Invitational in Morong, Bataan.
Salahog, nephew of 1989 Philippine Open champion Robert Pactolerin, sizzled with nines of 34-35. Gialon, winner at Royal Northwoods last year, birdied the first two holes and registered nines of 35-34 round at the tough 7,030-yard layout.
The duo stood a stroke ahead of Jay Bayron, who got to four-under after 14 holes but bogeyed the next and dropped two strokes on No. 17 to fall to solo third at 70.
Seven golfers carted 71s, including Pactolerin (35-36); Tony Lascuña (36-35); Orlan Sumcad (37-34); Miguel Tabuena (35-36) and Toru Nakahima of Japan (35-36).
Korea’s Jun Hyeok Park also shot 71 (36-35), as did Micah Shin (36-35) of the US.
Pactolerin gunned down four birdies against three bogeys, while Lascuña had five birdies against one bogey and a double-bogey on the par 4 No. 11.
“Medyo hindi malakas ang hangin kaya maganda ang score,” said the 53-year-old Pactolerin.
Salahog came up with a solid start this time and hoeps for a fine finish after missing the cut in two of the first four legs of this year’s circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
“My game clicked and everything’s in place,” said Salahog, who matched his best output at Marapara two years ago. He was actually at four-under heading to the par 4, 390-yard No. 18 but dumped his approach shot into the greenside bunker and failed to save par from eight feet.
Mars Pucay, Ian Mathay ang and Elmer Salvador matched par 72, while Cassisus Casas, Michael Bibat, Jessie Balaabas, and Guido Van Der Valk turned in 73s.
Frankie Minoza shot a 74, the same output by 0Rufino Bayron, Dino Villanueva, Angelo Que, Yuto Sudo, and Korean Jun Min Seok.