TRECE MARTIREZ, Cavite—Jay Bayron turned the back nine of Sherwood Hills upside down yesterday to shoot a 4-under-par 68 and gain a two-shot lead over three players after the opening round of the P2.5 million ICTSI Classic here.
The soft-spoken Davao native actually birdied six of his final 11 holes after a cold start with his 37-31 card pushing him two ahead of Ferdie Aunzo, Charles Hong and obscure Chris delos Santos.
The well-manicured, wind-swept layout bared its teeth with only seven players cracking par and a total of nine shooting 72 or better.
Miguel Tabuena, a winner of two legs last year, fired a 71 like Orlan Sumcad and Marvin Dumandan while Gerald Rosales and Artemio Murakami, former champions of all-Filipino Philippine Opens, returned level 72s and trailed b by four.
Frankie Minoza, the legendary 53-year-old shooting for a second straight win this year, struggled to a 76 with another ex-PH Open champ Cassius Casas faring worse with a 78.
Guido Van Der Valk, the Dutch who topped Q-School at Splendido in Tagaytay two weeks ago, fired a 74 like former PH Am champion Jun Bernis, Mark Fernando and four others.
Bayron bogeyed the first and third holes and played the next four at even par before a birdie on the par-5 eighth for a 37 at the turn. Then he caught fire with birds on 10 and 11 and birdying every other hole from the 13th.
“I guess I was lucky,” Bayron, the runner-up to Berry Henson of the United States in the PH Open at Wack Wack two years ago, said as he opened his quest towards erasing some bitter memories over this course.
Bayron, now an Asian Tour regular after topping the Order of Merit in the Asian Development Tour last year, was leading in the final round in 2011 when he hit the wrong ball for his second shot on the par-5 15th.
The leading scores: (Filipino unless stated)
68 – J. Bayron (37-31); 70 – C. Hong 35-35, F. Aunzo 35-35, C. Delos Santos 35-35; 71 – M. Tabuena 36-35, O. Sumcad 36-35, M. Dumandan 35-36; 72 – G. Rosales 38-34, A. Murakami 32-40; 73 – E. Saban 39-34, R. Bayron 37-36, T. Nakajima (JPN) 37-36, D. Zarate 36-37, T. Yoshinaga (JPN) 36-37, R. Sasutil 36-37, M. Pucay 35-38; 74 – J. Bernis 39-35, Z. Gialon 39-35, G. Van Der Valk (NED) 39-35, R. Lam 38-36, R. Pagunsan 37-37, M. Fernando 36-38, C. Mondilla 35-39.