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Thai pulls ahead with 67

TARLAC – Thai Namchok Tantipokhakul came out of a two-hour rain delay in fierce form then came back from a bogey mishap with back-to-back birdies at the finish to shoot a five-under 65 and seize the clubhouse lead over unheralded Enrico Gallardo at the start of the ICTSI Luisita Championship here yesterday.

Gallardo came through with a four-under card after 10 holes then settled for pars the rest of the way to settle for second as the first round of the $100,000 event was stopped due to darkness following a two-hour delay due to heavy rains and threats of lightning.

But Choo Tze Huang could wrest the lead at resumption of play early today (Tuesday) after the former Singapore amateur titlist fired a bogey-free five-under card with three holes to play.

Korean Kim Dae Won also had a four-under card and Keanu Jahns went three-under after 15 holes while Aussie Fidel Concepcion, Swede Sebastian Hansson and CAT Open champion James Ryan Lam and Mars Pucay all had two-under cards after 15 holes.

Tantipokhakul, coming off a joint sixth place effort in the Solaire Philippine Open two weeks ago, flashed superb touch off the mound then bucked the softened fairways with a near-impeccable iron game to produce six birdies against a lone bogey for a 33-34 card under preferred lies rule.