Abe Rosal launched his drive to reclaim the crown he won in 2017 as he carded a four-over 76 to share the first round lead with former national amateur titlist Rolly Viray in the Philippine Seniors and Mid-Amateur Open Championship at Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas yesterday.
Rosal, who failed to defend the title snared by Abe Avena in a playoff duel with Viray last year, struggled in tough conditions at the Mt. Malipunyo and Makulot nines, shooting just one birdie against five bogeys that however proved enough to net him a piece of the lead in the centerpiece 54-hole Open division of the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Viray actually missed grabbing the solo lead with a last-hole bogey but he remained on track of achieving what he had failed to do last year by matching his fellow Canlubang bet’s 37-39 card.
Mari Hechanova made it a three-way charge for Cangolf as he turned in a 77 to lay just a stroke behind the joint leaders with club bet Alan Alegre battling back with a 38 to shoot a 78 in a tie with Tommy Manotoc of Wack Wack, Zaldy Villa of Eastridge and Avena, also a mainstay at Mt. Malarayat.
Avena and Manotoc also fired 37s at the front but fumbled with three bogeys and a double bogey coming home to fall two strokes off the pace in the event sponsored by MVP Sports Foundation, Cignal and Metro Pacific and held under the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
Howard McKean from Singapore and Rene Unson, also from Cangolf, likewise stayed in the hunt with 79s while Damascus Wong from Valley Golf and New Zealand’s William Houng-Lee carded identical 81s and stood five shots behind Rosal and Viray.
Other titles being disputed in the event are the Mid-Amateur Open division (25-years-old-and-above) featuring the likes of Brixton Aw, Gerald Katigbak, Edcel Opulencia, Reggie Torres and Oliver Gan; Mid Am Division I (25-54 years with HDCP Index of 8.0-15.0), Mid Am Division II (HDCP Index of 15.1-24.0), Senior Division I (55-59), Senior Division II (60-65) and Super Senior (66-and-above).