CARMONA, Cavite—Title-favorite Antonio Lascuña polished off an 8-under-par 64 at dusk yesterday to take a two-stroke lead over Mark Fernando and Ryan Lam after the opening round of the P2.5 million ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship.
Winless since romping off with the Calatagan leg last May and having five close calls ever since, Lascuña birdied all the par-5s and signed for a 32-32 card to put his repeat bid in high gear at the Legends layout here.
Fernando, the former Philippine Team spearhead, opened up with four straight birdies on the way to a 66 like Lam with Ferdie Aunzo shooting a 67 together with three obscure bets to be just three shots back.
Arnold Villacencio went bogey-free in a 34-33 effort, sharing third with Aunzo, Joey Huerva and Rolando Marabe.
Lascuña, who won this event with a 14-under total when it was played at the adjacent and tougher Masters layout, actually birdied half of the course but dropped a shot on the 15th after missing the green.
Struggling of late and winless for more than two years now, the reedy Aunzo had six birdies against a solitary bogey in a 33-34 card .
Villacencio has had starts as hot as this one in the past, and the portly Davao native missed taking the lead by himself after he three-putted the par-5 14th for par.
Marabe, a teaching pro at the military-controlled Villamor layout in Pasay, also started out hot in the Tagaytay Highlands leg last month before slowly fading away in the final two rounds.
“I just hope to keep my form this time, and see what happens,” Marabe said in Filipino.
Orlan Sumcad, another long-hitting veteran out of Malarayat in Lipa City, fired a 69 like Jet Mathay and Rufino Bayron, highlighting a day of the lesser-regarded bets in the event that offers P450,000 to the champion.