Lascuña, Ababa share Del Monte lead
Antonio Lascuña and Jonel Ababa carved out five-under-par 67s in humid conditions Wednesday to share a one-shot lead after the opening round of the P2.5-million ICTSI Del Monte Championship in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
Out to break a two-year title drought, Lascuña gunned down six birdies against a bogey, while Ababa, chasing a first PGT win this season, was flawless in a 33-34 effort, although he rued missing three makeable eagle putts.
“I had some lapses in judgment with those eagle tries,” said Ababa in Filipino, referring to putts on par-5 hole Nos. 6, 9 and 14. “But overall, I played pretty well.”
Juvic Pagunsan, the consensus player to beat with four straight PGT victories coming here, fired a 69 to just be two behind, even as rookie Ira Alido and Aussie Jack Lane-Weston returned 68s to be one adrift.
“I got my iron game and putting going,” said Lascuña, who is coming off a playoff loss to Reymon Jaraula last week at Pueblo de Oro. “I got a bit careless on No. 7 and made a bogey but regained my rhythm after I birdied No. 10.”
Reigning Philippine Open champion Clyde Mondilla and Paul Miñoza both holed out with birdies on the ninth to card 71s as they emerged the best-placed players from the host province at 18th, four behind the hot-starting Lascuña and Ababa.
Jaraula, who came into the event oozing with confidence following a breakthrough win, blew a one-under card after nine holes with three straight bogeys to open his backside bid on a course he calls home. He birdied No. 14 but dropped another stroke on the difficult par-4 17th to fall to joint 36th with a 74.