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Villacencio sizzles in Forest Hills golfest

ANTIPOLO CITY — Veteran Arnold Villacencio fired a six-under 65 and took a two-shot lead over young Ira Alido at the start of the ICTSI Forest Hills Championship at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club here yesterday.

Villacencio, whose game took a downswing after scoring his maiden win at Summit Point in 2014, surprised the field with his hot start much more during a big windup that saw him birdie two of the last four holes to string a 33-32 card and set the pace in a day of changing fortunes despite benign condition at the Nicklaus layout.

Villacencio also flashed a near-impeccable short game where he rescued pars in seven times that he went out of regulation to seize control in the R3 million event sponsored by ICTSI.

Alido also eagled the reachable par-5 No. 6 and birdied No. 8 to shoot a 67 in another impressive start for the rookie pro out to atone for his failed bid at Orchard last May where he co-led in the first round with a 68 but missed the cut with a second round 85.

Manila Masters titlist Tony Lascuña, meanwhile, outplayed ICTSI Luisita champion Miguel Tabuena and recent Calatagan leg winner Zanieboy Gialon, birdying two of the last three holes to fire a 68 for third. Tabuena struggled with an even 72.

Clyde Mondilla best typified the sudden shift of fates in scorching heat as the two-leg winner threatened to dominate the field with an eagle-spiked five-under 30 start. But he finished with a 73 – no thanks to a three straight bogeys from No. 13 before double-bogeying the 18th.

From the top of the 73-player heap, the Del Monte ace tumbled to joint 26th at 73, eight shots off the pace in the early going of the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.