Rates sizzles with 61, leads Aunzo by 2 shotsBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
JOENARD Rates fired a seven-under-par 61 yesterday to take a two-stroke lead over Ferdie Aunzo after the first 18 holes of the ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship in Baguio.
The pocket-sized Rates, a veteran searching for his first pro triumph, birdied his last three holes to overtake Aunzo, the most dangerous man in the 75-strong field with most of the big guns campaigning abroad.
Starting in the back nine, Rates, whose brief claim to fame was holding the first round lead of the rich The Country Club Invitational two years ago, also eagled No. 16 for a 32-29 card.
Aunzo, who teed off early, was in the clubhouse with a 63 marred by a double-bogey 5 on the sixth hole before he strung up six birdies the rest of the way and be in the hunt to snap a two-year winless spell.
Aunzo is actually looking to atone for a final round collapse in the first leg of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments at Splendido last month.
“Nothing spectacular in my game plan—hit the fairways and the greens and make the most of the birdie chances,” said Rates. “I just hope to have a good start tomorrow (today). A lot of things will still happen in the last two days.”
Carl Santos-Ocampo, a highly touted sophomore, also put himself in the mix with a 64, tied with four others including rookie pro and former national amateur champion Clyde Mondilla and Marvin Dumandan.
Mondilla, who finished in a 21st-place tie in his debut in Tagaytay, had a solid 31 at the front, highlighted by an eagle 2 on No. 8.
He was at three-under after 12 holes but double-bogeyed the 13th and dropped another shot in the next to be three shots behind.
The tournament is being backed by Srixon, Callaway, Titleist, Sharp, Custom Clubmakers, Mizuno, PinoyGolfer.com, Inquirer Golf, A Round of Golf, Studio 23, Balls, and Dynamic Sports.
The leading first round scores;
61–J. Rates 32-29; 63—F. Aunzo 34-29; 64—C. Santos-Ocampo 30-34, C. Mondilla 31-33, R. Sinfuego 32-32, T. Macatangay 35-29, M. Dumandan 33-31; 65—J. Pepito 35-30; 66—A. Fernando 35-31, J. Bernis 37-29, P. Echavez 35-31, E. Ababa 33-33;
67—R. Diocares 37-30, R. Garalde 32-35, JH Bong 33-34.