Dutch, amateur show up local aces in Palos Verdes

Dutch Guido Van der Valk humbled the revered men of the tour, including Davao’s top guns, as he turned in a five-under 66 to emerge the surprise solo leader – one shot ahead of amateur LJ Go at the start of the P1 million ICTSI Rancho Palos Verdes Classic here on Wednesday.

Van der Valk, who topped the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Qualifier but who could only post a best joint eighth finish at ICTSI John Hay in three of the first four legs of this year’s circuit, missed making it a two-shot lead with a final hole bogey that marred an otherwise sterling round of 34-32.

Twenty-four players posted under-par rounds while 13 matched par at the par-71 layout which lay defenseless in the absence of the wind with Van der Valk fashioning out a low round despite drawing a late tee-off time in the 54-hole tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

“Despite that bogey, I had a solid day and didn’t really encounter trouble,” said the 33-year-old Van der Valk, who hit three birdies at the back where he teed off then rattled off back-to-back birdies to resume his bid at the front before going six-under with another birdie on the par-4 No. 7.

He, however, mishit his drive on the ninth and needed to play out for that bogey.

“I know there are a lot of good players behind me so I just have to play better each day,” said Van der Valk, who settled for a one-stroke lead over equally surprising Go, a rookie who showed up the pros to fire his own version of a four-under 67.

The spearhead of back-to-back champion Cebu Country Club in the PAL Interclub actually went six-under in a solid stint after 13 holes but reeled back with a double-bogey on No. 14.

Still, his 67 put him in solo second with Jay Bayron, Anthony Fernando and Dante Becierra leading the local bets’ charge with 68s in a tie with Michael Bibat, the former Asian Games bronze medalist long due for breakthrough victory in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI.

Bayron, who grew up at Apo Golf like majority of the country’s leading players, leaned on two long birdie putts on Nos. 12 and 14 to put himself in early contention for a second victory after nipping Miguel Tabuena in a playoff to capture the ICTSI John Hay Championship crown in April.

“It’s nice to start a tournament this way because in Baguio, I needed to play catch up to win,” said Bayron, 34. “Although it’s still too early to tell, at least I’m in the upper half.”

Becierra, the former Hong Kong Amateur Open champion still in search of his maiden pro win, took charge in the early going with a spotless four-under card heading to the 18th, only to fumble with a bogey following an errant drive and poor approach shot.

“I just miscalculated it. But I’m happy with how I performed despite that closing bogey,” said Becierra, 27, whose highest finish on the tour was third at Mt. Malarayat in 2011. This year, he had missed the cut twice after four legs while finishing last in the other.

Fernando, the former amateur champion, also made a strong start of four birdies against one bogey while Bibat also missed joining Go at second with a final hole bogey on No. 9.

Mhark Fernando, another Davao ace, led a big bunch of unheralded two-under 69 scorers, who included Albin Engino, Rene Menor, Rolando Marabe, Joebard Rates, Elmer Saban and Chris Mamaril, while former Order of Merit winner Elmer Salvador closed out with back-to-back bogeys to drop to joint 14 at 70.

Other one-under par scorers were Rufino Bayron, Ferdie Aunzo, Jessie Balasabas, Reymon Jaraula, Agustin Mata, Mark Varela, Randy Garalde, James Ryan Lam and Korean Kim Chang Hoi.

Frankie Minoza bucked a double-bogey on No. 3 with three straight birdies from No. 7 but dropped another stroke on the 16th to settle with an even par 71 in a tie with fancied Tony Lascuna, Jhonnel Ababa, Cassius Casas, Jun Bernis, Benjie Magada, Micah Shin of Korea, Richard Sinfuego, Arnold Villacencio, Miguel Ochoa, Rey Pagunsan, Edward Reyes, amateur Francis Morilla and defending champion Carl Santos-Ocampo.

Read more :
  • Minoza joins ICTSI Rancho title hunt
    Frankie Minoza gets to see action again on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour as he joins the three-leg southern swing of the circuit beginning with the ICTSI Rancho Palos Verdes Classic on Wed...
  • Arsenal beat Swansea to close in on top four
    Arsenal bounced back from their Champions League exit to step up their challenge for a top-four Premier League finish as goals from Nacho Monreal and Gervinho secured a 2-0 win at Swansea C...
  • Jordan reject laser claim at Japan match
    Jordan on Wednesday denied accusations that lasers were shone in Japanese players' faces during their 2-1 World Cup qualifier loss to the kingdom, saying the claims seek to justify their lo...
  • Sports Mole’s WAG of the week: Caroline Wozniacki
    Age: 21 Occupation: Tennis player WAG of: Rory McIlroy, number one golfer WAG since: 2011 At the age of just 22, Irishman Rory McIlroy built upon his successful 2011 by becoming the numb...
  • French still haunted by claims of style over substance
    MELBOURNE - It is a long-standing cliche in men's tennis that French players have an abundance of flair but would rather look good than get results. Joie de vivre? Tick. Style over substan...
  • Messi magic leaves Argentina in control in WC qualifiers
    Lionel Messi scored once and set up two goals as Argentina beat Venezuela 3-0 to remain in control of the South American qualifying race for the 2014 World Cup Buenos Aires on Friday. The ...
  • Thrilling come-from-behind win for Mizoram in T Ao tournament
    Defending champions Mizoram scored a come-from-behind 4-3 victory against Sikkim while Manipur and Tripura played out a 1-1 draw in the T Ao football tournament at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stad...
  • NCAA Season 89 unfolds
    San Beda College commences its campaign for a fourth straight title with a bout against host Saint Benilde College while title contenders San Sebastian College-Recoletos Stags and Letran Kn...