TCC Invit’L: Nakajima leads by 2 shots | Inquirer Sports

TCC Invit’L: Nakajima leads by 2 shots

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 05:27 AM February 03, 2017

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA—With the winds and sheer length of the overhauled layout bedeviling the talented field, last-minute foreign entry Toru Nakajima of Japan stood out, opening with a two-under-par 70 to wrest a two-shot lead over two local bets on Thursday at the rich The Country Club Invitational here.

The 32-year-old, the first foreigner to win a leg in the Philippine Golf Tour, had two of his four birdies in his homeward nine, polishing off a 36-34 effort with a bird on the 17th to be the only man in the elite 30-strong field to crack par on a truly trying day that saw some of the fancied bets stumble.

Three-time champion Angelo Que and Jonel Ababa assembled level 72s to keep Nakajima in sight, with Juvic Pagunsan and Olympian Miguel Tabuena five shots adrift along with two others in the 72-hole championship, which is back after three years.

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“I am very happy being given the chance to play,” said Nakajima as foreigners were allowed for the first time in the event honoring the late Don Pocholo Razon, founder of the sponsoring ICTSI. “I will just take it shot for shot (for the rest of the week) and see what happens.”

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Former champions Antonio Lascuña and Frankie Miñoza fired 76s, even as 50-year-old Cassius Casas, who won the 2014 edition and is effectively the defending champion, shot himself in the foot with an 81.

It was actually Ababa who had a scorching back nine, shooting an eagle-spiked 31 to rebound from an atrocious outward 41 and stay in the fight.

“It was just one of those days when my putting clicked in the back nine,” said Ababa.

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TAGS: Golf, The Country Club Invitational, Toru Nakajima

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