Trece Martirez, Cavite—Even with two members struggling, the strongest Philippine team in recent years was still good enough to secure a share of the first-round lead yesterday in the 53rd Putra Cup golf championship.
Jonathan delos Reyes saved the day for the Filipinos after gutting out an eagle-spiked 6-under-par 66 that powered the Philippines to a 213 total for the day and tie with steady Singapore at windswept Sherwood Hills here.
Jobim Carlos birdied the 18th from about 12 feet to save a level 72, with one of the 75 carded by reigning national champion Rupert Zaragosa and Rico Hoey counting as the Filipinos’ third score.
Mark Ong assembled a 70, Jerome Ng fired a 71 and John Woo had a 72 for the 2011 winner Singaporeans, who threw away the 80 of Nicklaus Chiam.
Defending champion Thailand was three strokes back with Saksansin Poom, the 65th-ranked amateur in the world, and Danthai Boonma returning 71s. One of the 74s of Chanachok Dejpiratanamou and Itthipat Buranatanyarat completed the Thais’ output.
Delos Reyes, an incoming junior at St. Mary’s in California, got the better of his one-on-one matchup with the celebrated Gavin Green of Malaysia in one of the day’s featured flights, gunning down an eagle 3 on the 12th that went with five birdies against a missed-green bogey on the 11th.
Green shot a 70 but his backups failed to deliver. Abel Tam’s 73 and the 75 of Albright Ong rounded out the Malaysians’ 218.
The PH women’s team lay three strokes behind Singapore in the Santi Cup after pooling together a 150 built around the 73 of Regina de Guzman and either 77s of the ailing Simone Hoey or Katrina Briones.
The Singaporeans drew a 70 from Amanda Tan and a 77 from Sock Hwee Kho.
The PH squad in the Junior Women’s division, the Kartini Cup, stood one stroke behind Thailand after a 70 from Bianca Pagdanganan and 74 from Pauline del Rosario.
Princess Superal failed to count with a 77.
“It was one of those days,” the 19-year-old Delos Reyes told the Inquirer. “But there are still three rounds to be played. We all hope to play steadier in the next rounds.”
The highlight of Delos Reyes’ round could be the great par saves in the last two holes where he both missed the green but canned pressure-laden putts from long distances.
“I like where we are, considering that the entire team didn’t play that well,” nonplaying PH team skipper Carito Villaroman said. “Rupert and Rico both didn’t find their games (today), but they will (in the next rounds).”
The 17-year-old Hoey carded his worst round over the ravine-filled layout since coming over some three weeks ago.
“I’m sorry, I can’t say much,” Hoey said before joining Zaragosa in the driving range to correct swing flaws.
Zaragosa had it at one-under at one point on the front nine, made the turn at level par but dumped his tee shot on the 10th in the left pond for a bogey. He never recovered from there.
The 72-hole championship is being backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Amateur Golf Tour, PSC, POC, Philippine Golf Foundation, DOT, Pancake House, Asia Brewery, Turf Company, Sligo, Ping, Intramachineries Doosan, Suntrust, Crimson Hotel and Golf Depot.