Van Der Valk fires 64, grabs clubhouse lead

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LIPA CITY—Guido Van Der Valk, the Dutchman who calls the Philippines home, fired an 8-under-par 64 yesterday and took a provisional one-shot lead over Anthony Fernando before first round play in the ADT-ICTSI Malarayat Classic at the Lobo and Malipunyo nines here was suspended due to darkness.

Van Der Valk, who was second to Elmer Salvador when this well-manicured layout last hosted the Philippine Open in 2009, finished birdie-birdie-eagle and zoomed past Fernando, but his scorching round won’t be considered as tying the course  record because of the preferred lies rule used.

Thai ace Chawalit Plaphol also had a 64 in winning the Asean PGA championship here in 2010.

Heavy rains made the course soggy and play was delayed close to two hours in the morning session before tournament officials finally called it a day with 21 flights still on the course.

The 63 stranded players will resume play at 6:45 a.m. today with Antonio Lascuña having a clear shot at the first round lead with a 6-under card after just 12 holes.

Nicholas Fung was at 5-under also after 12, with Daniel Bringolf, an Australian born to a Filipino mother like PGA star Jason Day, working on a 4-under card going into his 16th hole.

Fernando, the former PH Am champ and national team spearhead, sizzled on the front nine with five birdies for a 31 before cooling off somewhat with a 34 coming home and sealing one of his finest starts in a pro tournament in years.

“The idea was to take advantage of the (lift, clean and place) rule and hit as many greens and make as many birdies as possible,” Fernando, seeking a breakthrough pro triumph, said. “It’s important to putt well because some of the greens became very slow (because of the rains).”

Salvador, the soft-spoken Davao native seeking to become the first man to win back-to-back legs in the young history of the ADT, was at 1-over after 12 holes after taking a triple bogey 8 on No. 5.

The legendary Frankie Miñoza also failed to finish his round and the 53-year-old fresh from a British Senior Open stint was working on a 2-under card with three holes to play.

Angelo Que, the jolly Asian Tour veteran who was second to Salvador in the Aboitiz Invitational at the Cebu Country Club last Saturday, fired a 67  like Jun Bernis, American James Bowen and two others.

The event is backed by Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, FootJoy, Titleist, Sharp and BMW with Balls, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.

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