Salvador grabs top spot in ICTSI ChampionshipCebu Daily News
ELMER Salvador took care of business early on as he shot one birdie after another en route to a course-record tying seven-under 65 and a one-stroke lead over relative unknown Michael Bibat at the start of the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship in Carmona, Cavite yesterday.
Salvador, seeking to win the second P2.5 million, four-day event on the ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour calendar after romping off with the Sherwood Hills crown last April, tamed the par-72 Masters course that lay defenseless in the absence of the wind, as he birdied six of the first eight holes.
Not even a missed-green bogey mishap on the ninth could slow down the reticent Davaoeno, who hit three more birdies against a bogey on the last five holes for a 31-34 card that was threatened by Bibat in a mid-afternoon charge.
Bibat, who finished joint ninth at ICTSI Eastridge won by Miguel Tabuena early this month, rattled off four birdies at the back to complete a sterling round of 66, barely missing a birdie try on the par-5 18th that could’ve matched Salvador’s 65 which tied the seven-under posted by Frankie Minoza during the 1994 Philippine Open.
The former Asian Games bronze medalist put himself in early contention with three birdies against a bogey in the first nine holes, highlighted by a 30-footer on No. 2. With his rhythm going and confidence soaring, Bibat buried two more long putts on Nos. 13 (40 feet) and 14 (25 feet) to go with his birdies on Nos. 11 and 16.
The disappointment of the day was Juvic Pagunsan, the reigning Order of Merit champion and Asian Tour No. 1, who opened with 77 and in danger of missing the cut. /Correspondent Jonas Panerio