RP golfers pace Putra Cup

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Team Philippines opened its campaign on impressive note as the men’s and juniors squads pace their respective divisions while the ladies are tied at second in the 50th South East Asia Amateur Golf Team Championship, or Putra Cup at the Royal Selangor Golf Club.

Veteran campaigner Mhark Fernando led the way with a three-under-par 69 to tow RP to a 214 total and a six-shot advantage over defending champion Thailand. Miguel Tabuena (72) and Jhonel Ababa (73) are the other leading Filipino scorers.

Andrea Unson, meanwhile, scored a three-over 75 to pace the Filipinas in the second Santi Cup, the Putra Cup’s ladies event. Irina Gabasa’s own version of 75 and Chihiro Ikeda’s 77 accounted for the country’s 227 aggregate, 11 adrift from Thailand’s 216.

Thailand, which is aiming to win consecutive Putra Cup titles, struggled all day. Atthachai Jaichalad (71), Poom Saksansin (73) and either the 76 of Wasin Sripattranusorn or Supakorn Utaipat counted.

The Philippines is seeking an end to a 14-year title drought in the four-to-play, three-to-count format event celebrating its golden year at its home course. The RP Cuppers last won in 1996 also in Malaysia.

Myanmar was the biggest surprise of the day with 228, thanks to Nay Myint (75), Soe Moe Win (76) and Myon Aung (77). They are one ahead of the 229 of host Malaysia, which got 73 from Mohd Iylia (73), Mohd Azman (77) and Kenneth De Silva (79).

Unson, who started at the back nine, canned birdies on No. 1 from about two feet and No. 4 from about nine feet but were not enough to offset her five bogeys at the deceivingly difficult Old Course of the Royal Selangor.

While Unson and Gabasa may have had an easier time, Santi Cup veterans Ikeda and Ardina were off-form, visibly tired from their stint just last week at the Karambunai Amateur Open in Kota Kinabalu.

Host Malaysia tied the Filipinas. The beauteous Kelly Tan had a great first nine on her way to a one-over 73 and was backed up by Vivien Chin’s and Iman Nordin’s 77 apiece. Singapore 230, Indonesia 234, Myanmar 234 and Hong Kong 242 occupied the next places.

The score:

Wang’s (100) — Aldave 21, Manthe 18, Orera 15, Simon 13, Reyes 10, Diaz 10, Regalado 7, Pinera 4, Legaspi 2, Martinez 2, Piodo 0, Litonjua 0.

MLQU (95) — Urbano 21, Custodio 20, Vitug 20, Manalansan 8, Dizon 7, Lustestica 5, Parala 4, Gile 4, Sumayang 2, Celso 2, Uduba 2, Cruz 2, Mendoza 0.

Quarterscores: 35-24, 55-49, 76-69, 100-95.

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