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Kakeru, Samanodi shows way with 69s


‘You can’t force a birdie here at South Pacific.’

Ozeki Kakeru makes a strong recovery to open with a 69 and gain a share of lead in the PGT Q-School. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Q-School

DAVAO CITY — Ozeki Kakeru recovered from a quadruple bogey on No. 15 with a birdie on the 17th, saving a 69 and share of the lead with Kuresh Samanodi at the start of the Philippine Golf Tour Q-School at the South Pacific Golf and Leisure Estates here Tuesday.

Both spiked their three-under cards with eagles but Kakeru missed seizing early control with that “7” on the par-3 15th, ruining what could have been a flawless start for the Japanese, who dominated the challenging layout with a blistering six-under card after 14 holes.

That featured birdies on Nos. 1, 7, 9 and 14 and an eagle on the par-5 No. 12.

But he hit a couple of errant shots on the par-3 15th, leading to a 7 although his late birdie kept him in step with Sumanodi, who rode on a fiery eagle-birdie-birdie run from No. 7 to fuel his drive for one of the coveted 30 berths in this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.

Kakeru, a first timer here with a previous tournament win in 2018 back home, expressed satisfaction with his performance, labeling it the “best score here.”

Sumanodi, meanwhile, yielded a stroke on the 12th against a run of pars to produce a 32-37 for an early share of the lead with the Japanese, a stroke ahead of amateur Drew Proctor of the US, who also flourished with a bogey-free four-under card after 10 holes, only to surrender a shot on the 12th.

Though he regained the stroke with another birdie on the 17th, Proctor hobbled at the finish, double-bogeying the par-5 18th to slip to solo third at 70.

Samonodi, who participated in a few PGT events last year, emphasized the importance of playing his game, hitting fairways and making crucial putts.

“You can’t force a birdie here at South Pacific,” said Samanodi, who made the cut here last year.

Amateur Aidric Chan, coming off a victory with the Manila Southwoods squad in the Interclub tournament in Cagayan de Oro last Sunday, hit three birdies to overcome a bogey and double-bogey for a 72 as he shared fourth place with Thai Saksit Jairak, Kei Matsuoka of Japan, American Collin Wheeler and local amateur Edmar Salvador Jr.

Korean Gwon Minwook shot one birdie against a double bogey on No. 16 for solo ninth at 73 while Korean amateurs Tae Won Kim and Hyeok Min Yu matched 74s for a share of 10th.

Filipinos face tough challenge as foreign players dominated the Top 10, setting the stage for intense competition in the remaining rounds. The Top 60 and ties will advance to the last 36 holes.

Notable Filipino contenders are Randy Garalde, Ivan Monsalve, Carlos Packing, Elmer Saban, and amateur Michael Uy, who all carded 75s, the same output put in by Korean Tae Soo Kim.

Jelbert Gamolo, Joseph Labajo, Allan Remata and amateur Lanz Uy carded identical 76s to join former two-time Q-School topnotcher Toru Nakajima of Japan and amateur Kota Fukuyama, while Eric Gallardo posted a 77 for joint 25th with Emilio Panimdim Jr., Brent Sumampon and Korean Chon Koo Kang.

Luis Bagtas, Ramil Bisera, amateur Ryan Monsalve, Jonas Magcalayo, Ebarra Quiachon turned in similar 78s for joint 29th with Japan’s Koji Inoue and Tennoshin Ogawa.

Meanwhile, the comebacking pair of Mhark Fernando and Edward Reyes struggled with 82s and stood below the cutoff line at joint 61st, alongside Nelson Huerva, James Flores, Jeffrey Pito-on, Reynante Manulat, Korean Myung Chal Hwang and Japanese Masashi Kawaguchi.

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