Ryan Monsalve and Lanz Uy combined for nine birdies and took a two-stroke lead over Paolo Wong and Don Petil in the opening four-ball format of the National Doubles Amateur Golf Championship at Camp Aguinaldo Golf Club in QC yesterday.
Monsalve and Uy, who yielded the overall crown to Carl Corpus and Yuto Katsuragawa last year, broke away from a four-way tie after nine holes with five birdies at the backside of the par-68 layout, capping their romp with back-to-back birdies for a 31-28 card in best ball.
They hope to keep their charge as play shifts to aggregate today with the final round tomorrow to feature the tougher two-ball, foursome (alternate shot) format.
“We played pressure-free throughout. It’s been smooth and quite easy since even if one gets into trouble, the other will step up and save the hole, We just enjoyed it,” said Monsalve, whose partnership with Uy netted them the Group I title in last year’s staging of the season-ending tournament organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation.
Wong and Petil, who matched Monsalve and Uy’s 31 start, actually grabbed the lead with three straight birdies to start their backside drive but the duo slowed down and missed a couple of birdie chances, settling for a 30 and dropping to second instead with a seven-under 61.
Lester Lagman and Gab Manotoc also carded an opening 31 and birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 14 but fumbled with a bogey on No. 14 and slipped to third with a 62 in the premier division.
Many-time national champion Rupert Zaragosa and Adrian Romero also failed to sustain their hot 31 start with a birdie-bogey stint in the last nine holes and fell five strokes off the pace at 64.
Carlo Gatmaytan and Rocky Brobio pooled a 65 for fifth while the pairs of Sean Ramos-Jed Dy, Dan Cruz-Luigi Guerrero, Aniceto Mandanas-Carlo Quimson and Clare Legaspi-Felicia Medalla each shot 66s and stood seven shots behind in the event serving as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour.
Siblings Aldo and Paqo Barro made a 67 while the Annika Guangko-David Guangko, Kristine Torralba-Matthew Abalos and Eddie Bagtas-Leandro Bagtas tandems turned in identical 68s.
Meanwhile, Pierre Ticzon and Allan Crisostomo assembled a 70 to open a two-shot lead over Rald Sarmiento and Masaichi Otake in Group II play with Santino Diokno and Miguel Roque falling five strokes behind with a 75.
Allen Embuscado and Jimmy Suelo, on the other hand, carded a 72 to gain a one-stroke lead over Edwin Abesamis and Hermie Salibio with the Boom Coscolluela-Joey Anciano and Vic Se-Byron San Pedro tandems staying within striking distance with a 74 and 75, respectively, in Group III.