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Dutch takes 1-shot lead

Guido Van der Valk fired a three-under 69 and grab a one-stroke lead over Jhonnel Ababa and five others at the start of the ICTSI Calatagan Golf Challenge yesterday at the Calatagan Golf Club in Batangas.

After a bogey on No. 3 coming home, Van der Valk came away with back-to-back birdies from No. 4 then drilled in another on the par-3 eighth to rally with a 34 for that 69 in a big Day 1 finish and a big start for the Manila-based Dutchman still in search for his breakthrough win on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.

Meanwhile, Clyde Mondilla’s bid for a third straight victory suffered a snag with three bogeys in the first four holes at the back. Though he fought back with three birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 15, the Southwoods and PH Masters champion fumbled with another bogey on the sixth and ended up with a one-over 73.

Van der Valk’s windup actually stood out in a day when majority struggled at the finish at the frontside of the tight, rolling layout.

That included Ababa, who looked headed to backing up his pre-tournament claim of a successful campaign on a course he calls home when he rattled off four birdies and paced the elite field after 12 holes.

But he bogeyed the par-5 No. 4 on three putts then dropped another stroke on the closing par-4 ninth on a flubbed par putt from a club’s length.

He settled for a 70 and dropped into the big group of two-under par scorers, who included Rufino Bayron, who also blew a four-under card with bogeys on Nos. 5 and 8, and Zanieboy Gialon, who bucked a double-bogey mishap on No. 11 with five birdies in the next seven holes, including four straight from No. 13.