YUTO Katsuragawa sizzled in the rain and fired a three-under 69 for a two-stroke lead over Paolo Wong in the first round of the 2017 Philippine Amateur Golf Championship on Thursday at the Riviera’s Couples course in Silang, Cavite.
The 18-year-old Japanese player, who teamed up with Carl Corpus to win the NGAP National Doubles Championship last week at Aguinaldo, hit three birdies against a bogey on the back nine.
Katsuragawa was five shots clear of Aniceto Mandanas and two other foreign rivals before Wong hit two birdies in the last three holes to take second spot.
Yuka Saso birdied three of the last seven holes to fire a 69 for a two-stroke lead over reigning champion Harmie Constantino in ladies’ play.
Saso, the reigning World Junior Girls champion, birdied No. 4 then recovered from a double-bogey mishap on No. 7 with birdies on Nos. 9, 12, 16 and 18.
Mandanas was two under through 10 holes but skidded with four bogeys in the last eight holes, finishing with a 74 in a tie with Koreans Joo Hyung Kim and Min Jun Lee and Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana.
Joo birdied No. 5 but hobbled with three bogeys in a six-hole stretch from No. 7 and settled for pars the rest of the way. Min made two bogeys in a birdie-less stint, while Kaewkanjana stumbled with four bogeys against two bogeys.
Corpus had a double-bogey mishap on No. 11 and wound up with a 75, which was matched by Taiwan’s Han Wei Chiu and local bets Carlo Quimson, Ira Alido and Luis Castro.
Rupert Zaragosa failed to follow-up on a birdie-comeback on No. 9 after three bogeys, coming up with a back nine 42 marred by two double bogeys as the former champion limped with an 80 and fell to joint 31st, 11 strokes behind in the event which also serves as part of the selection process for the SEA Games-bound national team.
Korea’s Jun Sik Kim birdied the 18th for a 76 for a share of 11th with Liam Cully, Lucas Lam and Nik Gatmaytan while Aidric Chan, Eric Gallardo and Korean Seong Hyeon Lee all carded 77s in the four-day championship held under the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart and Metro Pacific Investment Corp.