ASEAN-PACIFIC GOLF:  MANOTOC,  RP  TEAM  LEAD  AT  START  OF  GOLF  FEST

MANILA, NOVEMBER 22, 2007
(MALAYA) TOMMY Manotoc holed out with a birdie to salvage an even par-72 and grab the individual lead while powering the Philippines to early lead in team play yesterday at the start 2007 Asia-Pacific Senior Amateur Golf Championship at Mt. Malarayat course in Lipa City, Batangas.

Manotoc nearly put to naught a stirring front-side stint of 33 as he fumbled with four bogeys at the back, including three straight from No. 11, and needed to birdie the 18th to save a round of 72 at the Mt. Lobo and Mt. Malipunyo courses.

The 57-year-old campaigner from Calatagan took a two-stroke lead over defending individual champion Rodney Baltrop who bogeyed the last two holes for a 74. Baltrop dropped into joint second with Australian Brian Sams in the 54-hole championship sponsored by the Philippine Airlines, Pagcor, Department of Tourism and Hanjin Heavy Industries.

Iggy Clavecilla, the reigning back-to-back national seniors champion and Manotocís teammate in RP Team I, carded a 75 for joint fourth with three others in the individual play as the Philippines took a three-stroke lead over Australia and Korea in team competition with a 147 aggregate.

The Philippines is eyeing a repeat of its sweep of the championship two years ago in China.

Sev-Roxas Chua, the other member of RP Team I, limped home with an 83 and didnít count under the three-to-play, two-to-count format event among 12 teams.

Australia pooled a 150 on Samsí 74 and any of the 76 of either Denis Dale or Tony Kennings, while the Koreans drew two 75s from Sun Yul Lee and Young Eung Park, with Jun Kee Lee failing to count with a decent 76.

New Zealand I, which swept last yearís championship, settled for 152 on the 76s of Bill Bell and Phil Cleland. New Zealand 2, featuring Baltrop and Neale Pitches who struggled with an 81, carded 155.

While RP Team I flourished early in the tournament being conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines, the second host team could only churn out 156 for sixth place, with Francis Gaston and Caloy Coscoluella counting with 77 and 79, respectively. Rolly Viray failed to count with an 80.

Manotoc, a former Singapore Open seniors champion, made a fine start with three birdies on Nos. 6, 8 and 9 as he took a three-shot lead over the field. But he wavered at the back, bogeying the par-3 11th before dropping three more strokes on Nos. 12, 13 and 15.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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