Micah Shin
Shin sparkles with record 64, leads by 1
Dante Navarro (Philstar.com) - October 23, 2019 - 5:43pm

LIPA CITY – Coming into the ICTSI Summit Point World 18 Challenge here, Micah Shin hardly had any expectations of getting into the mix with a wobbly form he had been trying to check the last two weeks.

But just after 18 holes, the lanky Korean-American now expects to go all way to another championship.

Shin took command in a day of torrid scoring at Summit Point, coming away with a four-birdie spree on both nines to set a new course record 64 and seize a one stroke lead over Thai Donlaphatchai Niyomchon at the start of the $100,000 Philippine Golf Tour Asia event.

Coming off a so-so showing in his return stint on the local circuit two weeks ago, Shin, who honed his talent and skills in Davao and posted three big victories in CAT Open in Luisita in 2016, in a regional tour event in 2017, and in The Country Club Invitational last year, thrived in the privacy of one of the early flights and hit three straight birdies from No. 3 to spark a binge on a course that features 18 of the world’s most renowned golf holes.

“I had not been playing well lately and came here just trying to get back my feel,” said Shin, who shared 12th place in the ICTSI South Pacific Classic of the PGT in Davao and tied for 18th in the CAT Open of the PGT Asia at Luisita last week following a long overseas campaign.

“A couple of 65s were posted here last year, so his (Shin’s) 64 stands as the new course record,” said Summit Point general manager Vic de Guzman, referring to the seven-under cards recorded in last year's edition of the event won by Joenard Rates, one of which Shin shot in third round on his way to a joint fourth place finish,

But Niyomchon charged back in one of the late flights with four birdies at the back to fire a 65 and moved past erstwhile second-running Joe Knox of England, who shot a frontside best 30 spiked by an eagle on No. 9 for a 66.

Fil-German Keanu Jahns, who finished second to Tony Lascuña in the ICTSI Apo Classic of the PGT three weeks ago, also rallied with four birdies in the last seven holes at the front to shoot a 67 to tie Aussie Jack Lane-Weston, Japanese Rio Morio, Brett Munson of the US and Clyde Mondilla at fourth.

A couple of foreign bets pulled to within striking distance of Shin but faltered at the finish with American Sam Gillis blowing a seven-under card with a triple-bogey on the par-4 No. 8 for a 68 and Taiwanese Yang Fei Hao squandering a six-under card with three bogeys in the last five holes for a 69.

Two local top guns, however, hardly got going in a low scoring day with Lascuna needing to check a rollercoaster round of three birdies against three bogeys with birdies on Nos. 14 and 17 for a 70 and Juvic Pagunsan groping for his putting touch and settling for a 71.

Rates likewise put himself in the mix with a bogey-free 68 for a share of ninth with Rufino Bayron, Rico Depilo, Anthony Fernando, Kammalas Namuangruk of Thailand and Gillis while Yang dropped to joint 16th with former Masters titlist Jerson Balasabas, Bebe Bouahom of Laos, Sydney Chung of the US, Fidel Concepcion of Australia, PGT Pueblo de Oro winner Reymon Jaraula, former Aboitiz Invitational winner Damien Jordan, also of Australia, obscure Teodoro Osabel, Japanese Yuta Sudo and Lindsay Renolds of Canada.

But Shin’s sizzling start stood out from among the 43 players who turned in under par rounds at the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout.

He missed five fairways in hot conditions but flashed superb iron shots to reach two of the five par-5s, four of which he birdied and kept an unblemished card by saving par on the par-4 No. 15, the only green he missed.

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