ANTIPOLO CITY — Angelo Que drained a long birdie putt on 18 to match playing partner Ira Alido’s 68 at the start of the ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge at the Valley Golf Club on Tuesday.
Que and Alido opened a one-shot lead over Zanieboy Gialon, Reymon Jaraula, Kang Chon Koo and Justin Quiban.
Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner, got off to a hot start that featured an eagle and two birdies to reach the turn on 4-under. He hit another birdie on 10 but stumbled with back-to-back bogeys from 14.
Alido, on the other hand, birdied the par-5 17th to cap his domination of the rolling layout’s long holes for a bogey-free pair of 34s.
Que’s hole out on the par-3 18th capped his big round.
“It’s a long par-3 so I just wanted to make a par,” said Que who stuck a four-iron tee shot some 25 to 30 feet off the cup.
Alido was also on target.
After saying he’s “currently playing at a high level mentally and physically and confident of his chances (to win) week-in and week-out,” he backed up his words with a solid result, birdying the first two par-5s and picking up another stroke on 13.
‘It’s a long par-3 so I just wanted to make a par.’
“I feel really well, feel good about my game. The course suits to my liking,” said Alido, seeking a follow-up to his come-from-behind victory in Bacolod last March.
“I missed about two or three chances for easy birdies but nonetheless, it’s a bogey-free round and it’s good for me. I also saved a couple of pars that helped me get to the top.”
Gialon also birdied 17 as he turned in a 69 to crowd Jaraula, Quiban and Chon Koo Kang at third.
Tony Lascuña recovered from bogeys on 13 and 15 with a birdie also on the 17th to save a 70 for joint seventh with Albin Engino, Japanese Atsushi Ueda and rookie Gabriel Manotoc.
A former national team mainstay, Manotoc flourished in a backside start of three birdies in the first six holes. But he yielded shots on 17 and 2 before regaining his rhythm and gaining another stroke on 7 for his strongest start yet in six tournaments of the ICTSI-backed circuit where he missed the cut just once.
Jhonnel Ababa, the come-from-behind winner at Philippine Masters, made two consecutive birdies from No. 16 but made a bogey on the last hole for a 71 in a tie with Dino Villanueva and amateur Aidric Chan.
Guido van der Valk likewise closed out with a bogey on the tough finishing hole after gunning down an eagle on the 17 as he signed for a 72 and a share of 14th with Art Arbole, Gerald Rosales, Elmer Salvador, Japanese and former Philippine Amateur champion Gen Nagai, Korean Min Seong Kim and Iloilo leg runaway winner Rupert Zaragosa.
The other fancied bets, however, floundered with Clyde Mondilla and Keanu Jahns ending up with 73s in the company of Joenard Rates, Ferdie Aunzo, Leandro Bagtas, Fidel Concepcion, Depilo, Arnold Villacencio, Gabo Santiago, Jelbert Gamolo and amateur Carl Corpus.
“On this course, it’s inevitable (to make mistakes), because it’s tight and you have to be in play all the time,” said Que, who hit errant drives that led to his two bogeys and blemished a scorching start punctuated by an eagle on No. 7 from 35 feet off a 3-hybrid second shot from 220 yards.
“Luckily, I read it right and it went in,” said Que of his eagle feat.
“Hopefully, I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing to give myself a chance (to win).”
The leading scores after the first round:
68 — Ira Alido, Angelo Que
69 — Zanieboy Gialon, Reymon Jaraula, Kang Chon Koo, Justin Quiban
70 — Albin Engino, Tony Lascuña, Gabriel Manotoc, Atsushi Ueda
71 — Jhonnel Ababa, Aidric Chan (am), Gerald Rosales, Dino Villanueva
72 — Art Arbole, Kim Min Seong, Gen Nagai, Rho Hyun Ho, Elmer Salvador, Guido Van der Valk, Rupert Zaragosa
73 — Jeonard Rates, Ferdie Aunzo, Leandro Bagtas, Fidel Concepcion, Carl Corpus (am), Rico Depilo, Jelbert Gamolo, Keanu Jahns, Clyde Mondilla, Nilo Salahog, Gabo Santiago, Arnold Villacencio
74 — Jerson Balasabas, Jay Bayron, Elee Bisera, Lloyd Jefferson Go, Francis Morilla, Mars Pucay, Richard Sinfuego
75 — Paul Echavez, Anthony Fernando, Lee Hwan, Sean Jean Ramos
76 — Michael Bibat, Jobim Carlos, Dan Emilio Cruz, Marvin Dumandan, Rolando Marabe Jr., Carlos Packing, Bonifacio Salahog.