Jolo Magcalayo sizzled with a bogey-free seven-under 65 to open a huge six-stroke lead over sibling Jonas even as Sofia Chabon, Junia Gabasa and Eagle Ace Superal took charge in the women’s side with 75s at the start of the W Express RVF Cup Amateur Golf Championship at the Canlubang Golf and Country Club in Laguna yesterday.
Cashing in on his local knowledge of the course he calls home, Jolo, 17, banged away four birdies at the front then kept his charge in the last nine holes of the North layout to outgun Aidric Chan and Korean Kim Tae Soo for a personal best 32-33 card in near-ideal condition.
Two flights behind, Jonas, 22, also turned in a solid frontside 33 but failed to match Jolo’s sustained run and stumbled with a 38, settling for a 71 while Chan and Zachary Castro matched par 72s for joint third in the early going of the 72-hole championship held in honor of the late NGAP president and golf patron Rod V. Feliciano.
Jolo birdied the par-5 second hole to spark a run that included birdies on Nos. 5, 8 and 9 then after three pars at the back, he birdied the next two then capped his sterling round with another birdie on No. 16 to find himself way ahead of the pack.
Perry Bucay rallied with a backside 33 to tie Masaichi Otake at 73 while Don Petil, Elee Bisera and Korean Jung Jae Hyun shot identical 74s for joint seventh in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
Sean Ramos, winner of two tournaments last year, Carl Corpus, Paqo Barro and Kristoffer Arevalo hobbled with 75s to fall 10 strokes off the pace in the tournament organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines nad backed Cignal, Metro Pacific and Cangolf.
A tight duel, however, marked hostilities in the distaff side with Chabon, Gabasa and Superal all churning out identical 37-38 cards, just one stroke ahead of Rafaela Singson and Rianne Malixi, who shot identical 76s.
Laia Barro stayed in early contention with a 77 with Bernice Olivarez-Ilas and Samantha Dizon both shooting identical 78s and Laurea Duque and Arnie Taguines carding similar 79s.
Despite failing to gun down a single birdie, Chabon gained a piece of the lead as Gabasa fumbled with five bogeys against two birdies and the young Superal hit one birdie and groped with four bogeys.
Singson blew a 36 backside start and a two-shot lead with a closing 40 while Malixi fought back with a frontside 37 for joint fourth with Barro likewise rallying with a 37 to seize solo sixth, just two strokes off the joint leaders with 54 holes left to play in the event also serving as part of the selection process for the team vying in the SEA Games the country is hosting later this year.