RAMIL Bisera birdied the last four holes for a 68 and a share of the lead with Micah Shin and Jay Bayron in the first round of the ICTSI Apo Golf Invitational on Wednesday at the Apo Golf and Country Club in Davao.
Bayron, looking to bounce back after winding up in joint 31st at Rancho Palos Verdes last week, had a chance to take the lead but bogeyed the ninth, his finishing hole.
Shin, an American raised in this city, birdied the par-5 18th to gain a share of the lead in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
They are one-stroke ahead of home bet Tony Lascuña, Korea’s Anthony Kim, Bacolod’s Nilo Salahog and Rancho Palos Verdes winner and money list leader Miguel Tabuena.
Rico Depilo stood alone in eighth after a two-under 70, while Allan Remata carded a 71.
Frankie Miñoza, back in the hunt after missing the action at Rancho Palos Verdes, shot two birdies against the same number of bogeys for joint 10th with fellow veteran Robert Pactolerin and Clyde Mondilla in the P1.5 million event sponsored by ICTSI.
It took 10 holes for Bisera, who won his and only professional title in 2004 at Villamor, before sinking first birdie on a course he calls home. But he bogeyed No. 12, hit another birdie on the next, only to drop another stroke on No. 15.
Resigned to another mediocre finish, Bisera suddenly turned it into a blazing windup.
“It was unexpected. The birdies just came along and I’m happy and surprised to be in the lead,” said the 41-year-old Bisera, who won a pro-am tournament with then amateur Shin three years ago.
Shin, who has had a couple of runner-up finishes in a young pro career, had five birdies against a bogey after 11 holes but he sputtered a bit in the closing holes with two bogeys against two more birdies, the last at the reachable 18th.
Bayron hit an errant drive on the ninth, fell short of the green and missed a par-putt from 20 feet.