Japanese shoots 69, goes up a shot at Wack Wack
Japan’s Toru Nakajima mixed five birdies with two bogeys in shooting a 3-under-par 69 yesterday for a one-stroke lead over Mars Pucay and Ferdie Aunzo after 18 holes of the P2.5 million ICTSI Wack Wack Championship in Mandaluyong.
Nakajima, who came from Q School and in the lead for the first time in the local Tour, played steadiest on a day when the tree-lined East course yielded just four sub-par scores and three level cards.
Mark Fernando turned in a 71 to trail by two while rookie Micah Shin, James Ryan Lam and Elmer Saban assembled 72s.
Former Philippine Open champions Gerald Rosales, Cassius Casas and Elmer Salvador returned 73s like the reedy Benjie Magada even as Jay Bayron remained in the hunt after a 74 like three others.
The event was missing big guns Angelo Que and Antonio Lascuña, who flew to Australia earlier in the week to represent the Philippines in the World Cup of Golf.
Miguel Tabuena and Charles Hong, the pretournament favorites, both struggled big time in the first round.
Hong, who finished ninth in just his third Asian Tour event in last week’s Resorts World Manila Masters at Southwoods, fired a 75 that included a triple bogey 7 on the long 12th hole for a back nine 40.
Tabuena, known for his fold-up in the final day of last year’s Philippine Open also here, submitted a 77, going birdie-less in a front nine 41. Both would need to regroup today in order to make the weekend play.
Tabuena needs to finish at least third here in order to wrest the Order of Merit title from Lascuna.