Gialon wrests two-shot lead
Zannie Boy Gialon gunned down seven birdies yesterday to shoot a six-under-par 66 and take a two-stroke lead over Micah Shin and Rufino Bayron after the first round of the ICTSI Royal Northwoods Championship in San Rafael town in Bulacan.
Gialon, twice a winner as a rookie in 2012, actually started with a bogey before catching fire the rest of the way as he led a slew of sub-par performances over a course that was softened by rains brought by Typhoon “Luis” the previous two days.
With the lift-clean-and-place rule in effect, a total of 21 players cracked par with Shin shooting a 35-33 and Bayron going bogey-less in a 34-34 round.
Gialon fired at the pins with great precision as he birdied all the par-3s in his 33-33 effort.
“I just hit my irons well today,” the 25-year-old Gialon, a product of the defunct National Caddies’ Open program at Calatagan in Batangas, said in Filipino.
“The plan is to play more of the same in the second round (today). I hope to be as lucky.”
Charles Hong and Jonel Ababa led a huge group that shot 69s, with Camp John Hay leg winner Jun Rates firing a 70 like Mark Fernando to be just four back.
Also in the company of Hong and Ababa was Ferdie Aunzo, the former PH team spearhead who won this event in 2009.
Aunzo’s 34-35 card could have been a lot better had it not been for two flubbed birdie putts from close range in his final two holes.
Marvin Dumandan, Rey Pagunsan and Robert Pactolerin, the veterans fancied to contend here with the absence of the tour’s big guns, struggled.
Dumandan shot a 73 like Pagunsan, who was a title contender in the rich The Country Club Invitational this year only to collapse in the final round.
Pactolerin, the former Philippine Open champion who won at Marapara in Bacolod two years ago via a playoff against Antonio Lascuña, shot a 74.
Artemio Murakami, also a former Open champ, was in group another shot back.
The 72-hole championship, which offers P270,000 out of the P1.5 million pot to the champion, is being backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG. Musong R. Castillo
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