RENE Menor shot a four-under 68 for a one-stroke lead over rookie pro Jobim Carlos and Gerald Rosales at the start of the ICTSI Manila Masters at the Eastridge Golf Club in Binangonan, Rizal.
Menor hit three birdies in his first nine holes and then had two more against a bogey on the way back.
“I played pretty good. My putting, irons and short game were quite okay. I just hope to sustain this kind of game until the last round,” said Menor, who tied for 15th in the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour kickoff leg at Anvaya, missed the cut in the next two stages at Luisita and Manila Southwoods before hobbling to finish 27th at Sherwood.
“The wind started to blow towards the back and I was lucky to have started early,” said Menor.
Carlos and Rosales also benefited from early tee off times, avoiding the winds in the afternoon.
“The greens were bumpy and the wind was strong. It’s good I made a good start,” said Rosales, Philippine Open champion in 2000.
Clyde Mondilla shot a 70, while Jay Bayron shot a 71 in a tie with veteran Frankie Minoza.
Defending champion Angelo Que groped for form a bit and had a 72 despite hitting five birdies, tying Dutchman Guido Van der Valk, Mhark Fernando and Japan’s Ryoma Miki in seventh place.
Chris delos Santos and Benjie Magada shot 73s for a share of 11th.
Starting on the back nine, Que made two double bogeys against a birdie in his first five holes, dropped another stroke on No. 15 before bouncing back with four birdies in the last 10 holes.
Tony Lascuna and Miguel Tabuena – winners of the first two of legs of this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. stumbled with 74 and 76, respectively in the in the tournament backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.