Riding a two-eagle first round, Joenard Rates grabbed the solo lead at the start of the P2.5 million ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters in Pasay City on Wednesday.
Reminding himself to focus and relax, Rates drained eagles at par-5 No.8 and par-4 No.15 to finish with a 7-under 65.
“I just tried to relax [and] hit as many greens and fairways. If you hit a fairway, you need to capitalize on that,”
Rates, who last won at PGTA Summit Point in 2018, said. “I am blessed that I had a good putting today, hopefully until the weekend and clutch on to the lead.”
Rates knocked down a birdie at No. 3 before adding another fiery three-birdie run from 12 that virtually erased his bogey at No. 5.
“[I am] looking to limit the errors. It’s a difficult course … I have to be more consistent in the drive, in my putts,” Rates told the Inquirer in Filipino.
Jhonnel Ababa bounced back from a bogey-filled start with four birdies to finish at No. 2 with a 3-under card, level with South Korean Hyun Ho-rho.
Meanwhile, Daniella Uy saved her first round with consecutive birdies after bogeying the par-5 No. 16 for a two shot lead in the women’s tournament.
Uy started the day under sweltering heat at Villamor with a birdie at Nos. 1 and 4 but slowed down after hitting a bogey at No. 5.
“I saved a lot of pars, I had stymie on the drive,” Uy said. “I have to hit more fairways and greens tomorrow.”
Reigning Order of Merit champion Chihiro Ikeda tied with Marvi Monsalve at No. 2 with an even par card as both players suffered a bogey-filled round on Wednesday.
“It was a pretty wild round. Actually, I made a lot of bogeys,” Monsalve said.
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