SUSTAINING the form that gave him yet another win less than a week ago, Frankie Miñoza yesterday fired a 5-under-par 67 to share the lead with unheralded Joenard Rates after the first round of the ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship in Cagayan De Oro.
The 53-year-old, who triumphed in come-from-behind fashion at Del Monte last Sunday, fired six birdies against a bogey and put himself in prime position to winning back-to-back titles in the circuit.
Rates, son of a former pro still searching for a breakthrough win, carded a bogey-free round even as Antonio Lascuña, Mars Pucay and Elmer Salvador—the other fancied bets—all turned in 68s like Rufino Bayron.
Pucay had an eagle-spiked, bogey-free round, while Lascuña gunned down three of his five birdies on the back nine.
Angelo Que, the multiple leg winner in the Asian Tour, returned a 69 like veteran Benjie Magada, Arnold Villacencio and 2012 ADT overall winner Jay Bayron.
Mark Fernando shot a 70 while Marvin Dumandan headed a five-man group that scored 71s.
Miñoza’s only bogey in two rounds counting his sizzling final round 63 at Del Monte last Sunday came on No. 4 as he made the turn at 33. He then gunned down five birds in his last 14 holes.
Que also had six birdies but had an uncharacteristic double bogey 7 on No. 7 and a bogey on the par-3 11th. Nevertheless, the 2008 Philippine Open champion is well within striking distance in his search for a second win in as many appearances this year.
The layout played a lot easier as 25 players either cracked or matched par with a total of 34 just within six of the pace.
Carl Santos-Ocampo and Charles Hong, leg winners this year, were in the company of Dumandan together with Gerald Rosales, another former PH Open winner, and Ryan Lam, who shared second at Del Monte along with four others.
The 54-hole event is backed by Nike Golf, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon, Foot Joy, Callaway, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Cleveland Golf and Sharp.