RUPERT Zaragosa and Fil-American Putra Cup recruit Jonathan de los Reyes fired one-under-par 71s to share the top spot after the first round of the Philippine Amateur Closed golf championship on Thursday at Sherwood Hills in Trece Martirez, Cavite.
The 15-year-old Zaragosa, who is aiming to win the only national title missing in his collection, and De los Reyes, in his first tournament on Philippine soil, both made four birdies.
They were one stroke clear of Rico Hoey, a 17-year-old shotmaker who is set to see action in the US NCAA Division I for University of Southern California in August, who had five birdies in a 72 in the event presented by MVP Sports Foundation.
Andres Saldana fired a 73, while Justin Quiban, JP De Claro and Cebu Country Club’s Lloyd Jefferson Go carded 75s to stay in the hunt in the final national individual NGAP tournament this year.
“There’s no pressure, even though I would want to win this title badly,” Zaragosa said after his round with Delos Reyes, a long-hitter who will join the pint-sized wonder from Canlubang in the team golf championship featuring Southeast Asian countries later this month.
"Rupert can really play," said the 19-year-old Delos Reyes, born to Filipino parents. "This is a tough course with a tough field. Anything can happen in the last three rounds."
Bianca Pagdanganan had a 74 (35-39) for a one-stroke lead over Sophia Chabon in the women’s division.
Pauleen Del Rosario and Chanelle Avaricio shot 76s, while Philippine Santi Cup team members Regan De Guzman and Simone Hoey carded 78 and 79, respectively.
Zaragosa won the boy’s and men’s match play championships as a 13-year-old in 2011 and entered this tournament fresh from annihilating the field in the Philippine Amateur Junior Closed championship two weeks ago also at Sherwood.
He was outdriven considerably by Delos Reyes off the tees but managed to keep pace with the highly-touted Fil-American in the PLDT Amateur Golf Tour event backed by Pancake House, Nike, Golf Depot and Pacsports.