Santos-Ocampo and Hashizume lead at rain delayed ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship

Dasmarinas, Philippines: Carl Santos-Ocampo of the Philippines and Mitsuhiko Hashizume of Japan shot four-under-par 68s to share the clubhouse lead in the rain-delayed first round of the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship on Wednesday.

Play was suspended at 11.16am for over two hours because of heavy downpour brought by tropical storm Helen which subsequently led to the tournament being suspended due to darkness at 5.50pm at the Orchard Golf and Country Club.

Nobody from the afternoon session completed the opening round and players will return at 6.45am on Thursday to complete their rounds in the US$60,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Singaporean Quincy Quek, who is searching for his maiden win on the ADT, flourished with four birdies and one bogey in the last nine to stay one shot from the leaders.

Santos-Ocampo credited his good course management which yielded six birdies including a 50-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole against two bogeys.

“This was probably one of the hardest weather conditions, wind and rain combined, I’ve ever played in.  I’m glad to come out with a great score and have a breakout day,” said Santos-Ocampo.

Santos-Ocampo, who missed the grade at the Qualifying School in Thailand earlier this year, is determined to turn the corner after missing four cuts in the last two months.

“The Palmer course plays long even after a nice drive. The three-wood was the key to the birdies. I hope to take this momentum throughout the week,” he added.

Hashizume, who teed off from the 10th tee, got off to a fast start with three birdies in the first six holes including a pair on holes 12 and 13 followed by a chip-in birdie from 20 yards on the 15th hole.

Another highlight of his round came when he eagled the second hole from three feet courtesy of an accurate 240-yard approach shot.

“I made some nice putts at the back side and my eagle was perfect,” said the 28-year-old Hashizume, who honed his skills at the Tokyo Golf Club.

Filipinos Rufino Bayron, Clyde Mondilla and Rey Pagunsan and Charles Davies of Wales were bunched up in fifth place on identical 70s while Australian Unho Park and local player Jhonel Ababa each signed for a 71. 

The ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship is the eighth leg of the ADT this season. The stature of the ADT will grow even more significantly in 2013 as it will receive Official World Golf Ranking points.