RANDY Garalde put on a dazzling show of shotmaking and superb recoveries to shoot an eagle-spiked eight-under 64 and take a three-stroke lead at the start of the P3 million ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic on Wednesday at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martirez, Cavite.
Garalde hit a 7-iron from 170 yards on the par-4 No. 9 for eagle to take the top spot, ahead of Jesse Balasabas, Edward Reyes and Korea’s Micah Shin.
“I did have bad drives on No. 12 that nearly went out-of-bounds and on No. 16 but was able to recover and save pars,” said Garalde.
Balasabas was one one-over through nine but got back to even on the first hole on the way back. He then went on a five birdie binge for a 67.
Shin birdied the last two holes, while Reyes made it a three-way tie by making two birdies on the last four holes.
Jay Bayron, winner of the opening leg at Splendido in Tagaytay, had a 70 and was joined in fifth spot by Clyde Mondilla, Charles Hong, Art Arbole and Paul Echavez.
Benjie Magada was solo 10th at one-under 71.
Canada’s Rick Gibson and Korea’s Kim Chang Hoi matched par 72 for joint 11th with Zanie Boy Gialon, Robert Pactolerin, Jan Tambogon and Arnold Villacencio.
Elmer Salvador, who skipped the Indonesia Masters to see action at Sherwood, struggled to a 73 and shared 17th spot with Keanu Jahns, Artemio Murakami, Chris Mamaril, American Joshua Leppo, Miguel Ochoa, Mars Pucay, Cookie La’O, Michael Bibat, Christopher de los Santos and Marvin Dumandan.
“No definite gameplan for the next three days but to play my game and enjoy it although I need to keep my drives straight and polish my putting stroke,” said Garalde, who turned pro in 2004 but had to stop playing for a while due to school and work before resuming his golf career when ICTSI staged the revival of the pro circuit in late 2008.
The Philippine Golf Tour event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. offers a top prize of P650,000. Other backers of the tournament are Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp and FootJoy, with Balls TV and ABS-CBN as media partners.