Manila: India’s Jyoti Randhawa and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang were part of a five-way tie for the opening round lead at the US$1 million Resorts World Manila Masters on Thursday.
It was a leaderboard logjam which also featured Thailand’s Danthai Boonma and Rattanon Wannasrichan and Johannes Veerman of the United States after the leading players all opened their campaigns at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club with matching eight-under-par 64s.
Randhawa, who was Asia’s number one in 2002, rolled back the years with a commanding performance that showed why he is still highly regarded as one of the region’s top players.
The 44-year-old ran out in 31 after five birdies and ensured his spotless card would continue to remain intact without any bogeys by firing another three birdies on holes 12, 15 and 18 in his back-nine.
“There was no wind today so it can get fairly easy on this golf course when there’s no wind. This golf course seems to set itself up nicely for my style of play so that helps a bit.
“But having said that, you still have to play good golf to do well and I did play some good golf today,” said Randhawa.
Lin meanwhile had a lucky eagle on his closing 18th hole to thank for soaring him to a share of the lead in the morning.
The 42-year-old was in his element at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club as he surged quickly ahead with four birdies in his opening five holes.
After making the turn in 32, Lin, a six-time Asian Tour winner, gained further advantage on holes 12, 15 and 16.
He dropped his only shot of the day at the par-three 17 but would recover quickly with an eagle which lifted him back to the top.
“It was a good day and I came into this round feeling very good about my game. There was not much wind in the morning and that really helped.
“I was impatient and wanted to chase the leader at that stage. I three-putted the 17 and was lucky I managed to eagle the last,” said Lin.
Danthai, who is chasing his second win on the Asian Tour, also took advantage of the benign conditions in the morning to put himself into a promising position.
“I putted really well. It was not windy in the morning and I was able to attack the pins. I gave myself lots of birdie chances and managed to take advantage of them.
“It’s a good feeling whenever you play a good round like this,” said Danthai, who needed only 27 putts for his round of 64
Veerman, who is leading the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit, found himself in a similar position atop the leaderboard at the Resorts World Manila Masters, which is the richest golf tournament in the Philippines.
With the top-five finishers on the ADT Order of Merit securing their Asian Tour cards for 2017, the American knows that much of the pressure has been lifted and he can focused on playing to his true potential this week.
“I really don’t have anything to lose right now. If I don’t keep my card on the Asian Tour, I still get to keep my card because of ADT. That has taken a lot of weight off my shoulders,” said the American, who marked his card with two bogeys, one eagle and eight birdies.
Resorts World Manila Masters partners include Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club, Marriott (Official Hotel Partner) and supported by Aristocrat, IGT, Konami, Scientific Games, Empire Automation, LJ Industries, Levelwear, RGB LTD, PLDT Alpha, Dalmore, Srixon and Bloomberg.
Leading Scores after round 1 of the Resorts World Manila Masters being played at the par 72, 7317 Yards Manila Southwoods GcC course (am - denotes amateur):
64 - Danthai BOONMA (THA), LIN Wen-tang (TPE), Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA), Johannes VEERMAN (USA), Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND).
65 - HUNG Chien-yao (TPE), Steve LEWTON (ENG), Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA), Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA), Adam GROOM (AUS).
66 - Lionel WEBER (FRA), Rufino BAYRON (PHI), Scott VINCENT (ZIM), Nicholas FUNG (MAS), Clyde MONDILLA (PHI), Terry PILKADARIS (AUS), Giwhan KIM (KOR).
67 - Chiragh KUMAR (IND), Frankie MINOZA (PHI), Michael WRIGHT (AUS), Michael TRAN (VNM), Mardan MAMAT (SIN), Miguel TABUENA (PHI), Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA), Toru NAKAJIMA (JPN).
68 - Wolmer MURILLO (VEN), Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA), Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN), Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND), S.S.P CHAWRASIA (IND), Alessandro TADINI (ITA), Mars PUCAY (PHI), KOH Deng Shan (SIN), Junseok LEE (AUS), Chikkarangappa S. (IND), Quincy QUEK (SIN), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Simon GRIFFITHS (ENG).
69 - Janne KASKE (FIN), Daniel CHOPRA (SWE), Sam BRAZEL (AUS), Benjie MAGADA (PHI), Jbe KRUGER (RSA), Carlos PIGEM (ESP), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND), Richard T. LEE (CAN), Antonio LASCUNA (PHI), Kevin MCLISTER (USA), Zanie Boy GIALON (PHI), Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA), Shunya TAKEYASU (JPN), Shubhankar SHARMA (IND).
70 - CHAN Shih-chang (TPE), Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA), Chapchai NIRAT (THA), Adilson DA SILVA (BRA), Elmer SALVADOR (PHI), Scott BARR (AUS), HSU Hao-sheng (TPE), Albin ENGINO (PHI), Casey O'TOOLE (USA), Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA), Danny MASRIN (INA), Javi COLOMO (ESP), Carlos SAINZ Jr (USA), Toni FERRER (ESP), Jerson BALASABAS (PHI), David LUTTERUS (AUS), James BOWEN (USA).