GABRIEL Manotoc fired a level par 72 yesterday to take a two-stroke lead over Rupert Zaragosa after the first round of the NGAP’s Philippine Amateur Junior Open championship presented by MVP Sports Foundation at the tough Sherwood Hills in Trece Martirez City, Cavite.
The shy 15-year-old hit all but three greens and fired two birdies against the same number of bogeys as he put himself in position for a first big individual win in the event, part of the PLDT Group Amateur Golf Tour.
“I hit it solid all day, I just couldn’t attack some of the putts because of the pin placements,” said Manotoc, who powered Beacon Academy to the recent Inter-Scholastics championship.
Zaragosa carded a 74 after a wet triple-bogey 7 on the 18th hole. He hooked his tee shot into the thick rough and the former World Junior champion paid for still trying to go for the green.
Basti Lorenzo, a teammate of Manotoc at Beacon, had a 75 in the event also backed by Pancake House, Nike, Golf Depot, Pacsports and Microtel.
Raymart Tolentino, a qualifier for the Philippine team to the Junior Worlds in San Diego this June, had a 76 like Ryan Monsalve, Thomas Tan of Singapore and Park Min-ung of South Korea.
Pauleen del Rosario returned a 73 to set the pace in the girls’ division by one stroke over Malaysian Nur Eliana Ariffin and the fancied Princess Superal.
Abegail Arevalo, the 13-year-old new recruit of the ICTSI program, assembled a 75 like Daniella Uy, with Felicia Medalla and Sofia Chabon carding 76s.
While Sherwood Hills, the official home of the organizing NGAP, didn’t play that tough yesterday with the absence of winds, the slippery greens stymied the field with more than a third in the boys’ field failing to break 80.
Manotoc birdied the second hole and made the turn at 35 only to bogey 11 and 13 before returning to even with a birdie on 17. Musong R. Castillo