Avena paces PH Senior by 2

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LIPA CITY—Abe Avena went on a birdie binge late in his front nine and assembled a 2-under-par 70 for a two-shot lead over Ramontito Garcia yesterday after the first round of the NGAP’s Philippine Senior Amateur championship at Malarayat’s Lobo and Malipunyo nines.

The 56-year-old, five-time club champion here who is taking part in this event for the first time, picked up three straight shots from No. 7 then nailed a fourth birdie against two bogeys on the final nine for the leadin the three-round  event backed by the PLDT Group Amateur, Pacsports and Club Car.

Garcia, the skipper of the victorious Cebu Country Club squad in the PAL Interclub, had a 36-38 card with  Iggy Clavecilla shooting a 76 to be another two shots back.

“There’s pressure playing with the great players,” Avena, who also won two club championships with Southwoods in 1997 and 1998, said, referring to playing partners Garcia and former titlists Rolly Viray and Francis Gaston.

Viray, the Canlubang golf manager, fired a 79, and Gaston shot an 80. Dave Hernandez  also carded a 79 even as Korean expat Chang Young-hi posted a 72 for a six-shot lead over Jonathan dela Pena in the Mid-Amateur event.

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