BAGUIO CITY – Philex Mines executive Euls Austin opened with a four-over 73 and 32 points to lead Moto to a 102 opening round and take a one-shot lead in Seniors A over three teams at the start of the 70th Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament at the Camp John Hay (CJH) and Baguio Country Club (BCC) courses on Wednesday.
Nelson Roa, Fred Llamera and Emilio Alviar made 26, 25 and 19 in that order in the five to play four to count tournament considered the oldest and biggest amateur golf tournament in the world. Marcelo Rasa had an 11 but did not count.
Moto is just a shot ahead of Hotel Bahai Subic, Okinawa Golf Team and Sandigan Golfers which opened with identical 101 at the shorter but more difficult BCC course.
Tony Olives top-scored for Hotel Bahai with 29 and got 25 from Danny Morales, 24 from Raoul Jorge and 23 from Joey Napkil for the total tied by Okinawa which has 28 from Bernard Chang, 25 from Tom Dailley and a couple of 24s from Roger Telan and Darryl Hatchet.
Sandigan should have taken the first-round lead but was meted with a two-point deduction that saw its 103 total reduced to 101.
Ed Benigay had the best day total of 34, a two-over, to lead the squad which got 27 from Ruben Yaris and a pair of 21s from Ron Santos and Wilfredo Bonilla.
At CJH, Hur Yun walked home with a three-over for 33 points and got solid games from his partners as co-host CJH fired an opening round of 107 and a six-point lead in Seniors Am A.
Villamor Bumanglag and CJH executive Shean Bedi submitted an identical 28, while Romi Tiu counted with his 18 for the team’s opening round.
Six shots down with 101 is B & Y Utopia which got a similar three over 33 from Willy Valencia. Apo Golfers Club-Leadership is another three-shot down after a 98 and at the third spot.
Team Na Koa also enjoys a six-shot lead in Seniors Fil A after a 97 led by a pair of 26s from Richard Ballucanag and Victor Ovales. Team Mcder I has 91 for second spot and nine shots off Silicon Valley Golfers Link Club I.
Megafiber will start its title retention bid Thursday against three former champions-- inaugural winner Manila Southwoods, 2017 winner Luisita and former three-time champion Camp John Hay.
The co-host John Hay goes to work tomorrow with its top man, Fred Puckett, joining them despite turning 70 earlier this year and eligible to play in the super senior.
“I was told to stay with the senior John Hay team to give us a better fighting chance,” said the teaching pro at John Hay.
Puckett was also the inaugural senior individual titlist and has won the top solo crown several times.
"And I was told by (former) mayor (Mauricio) Domogan to stay put so he could retain his super senior title,” he said. Domogan is the defending individual titlist in the super seniors and his John Hay squad is the defending team champion.
Meanwhile, a three-week tournament on the Fil-Am’s 71st edition is expected to accommodate more players, Fil-Am Invitational golf co-chair Anthony de Leon said.
It will be a totally different format next year with the Fil and Am for the regular division played on different weeks.
The first week of seven playing dates will be for the Am division, the second for the seniors and super seniors (both Fil and Am) and the last will be for the Fil.
Participation could reach 2,000 or more with at least 700 players seeing action for every week.
Also, the practice rounds will be reduced to 1.5 days, unlike the present which is 2.5 days.
“It’s too long, so we decided to reduce the number of days as a practice round,” he said.
The playing date will be reduced to seven per division unlike now, which is nine or 18 days for both.
“We will only have a three-day increase in playing days or 21 days, that long,” he added.
The results of the first day came in trickle a day after the city was threatened by typhoon "Tisoy" but was quiet with no strong rains to disrupt the last day of a practice round and ceremonial tee. (PNA)