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J. Bayron, Dumandan up by one

LIPA City, Batangas – Jay Bayron and Marvin Dumandan took charge with identical 67s fashioned out on fiery windups on both nines in sun and rain as they wrested a one-stroke lead over an equally hot-finishing Rufino Bayron at the start of the ICTSI Classic at Mt. Malarayat composite course here yesterday.

Teeing off at Mt. Malipunyo serving as the backside, Bayron bucked a double-bogey mishap on No. 14 with seven birdies, including four at Mt. Lobo capped by a three-footer on the par-5 ninth that tied the back-to-back winner at Aboitiz Invitational and ICTSI Riviera Classic with Dumandan.

The power-hitting Dumandan, seeking an end to a long title spell in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI, anchored his strong start in the R2 million event on a fiery windup at Mt. Malipunyo, a four-under 32 he spiked with an eagle on the par-5 17th.

“I feel confident, especially with my driving. I can now control my shots and my putting has been very steady,” said Dumandan, who tied for ninth at Riviera.

He actually set his bid with two birdies in the first four holes but stumbled with a bogey on the seventh before birdying Nos. 10 and 14 then knocked a rescue shot from 260 yards to pin-length high for eagle on the 17th and a 67.

Bayron matched that five-under card minutes later with the hottest player on the circuit, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., also coming back from a 36 start at the back with five birdies, including back-to-back feats from No. 1, another pair from close ranges on Nos. 5 and 7 before closing out with another on the ninth.