Closing-hole birdie nets Bayron piece of TCC lead

The Philippine Star
Closing-hole birdie nets Bayron piece of TCC lead
Jay Bayron flashes the thumbs-up sign after birdying the difficult No. 18 for a share of the early lead.
Philstar.com / File

STA. Rosa, Laguna, Philippines — Jay Bayron recovered from a shaky start to card a 73 and force a four-way tie for the lead at the start of The Country Club Invitational here yesterday.

Bayron’s up-and-down round typified the elite 30-player field’s struggle on the TCC course that proved exacting for its sheer length (7,652 yards) in the first 18 holes of the P6-million championship, the highlight event of each Philippine Golf Tour season.

While the majority of the early contenders fell prey to the water-laced No. 18, Bayron pulled off two brilliant shots to set up a birdie putt, one of the only two for the day on the dogleg 476-yard hole.

Bayron, who with brother Rufino lost to Frankie Miñoza in sudden death here in 2013, hopes to ride on that strong finish as he tries to snap out of a long slump with a sustained charge in the next three days.

Jerson Balasabas failed to hurdle the last-hole test and finished with a bogey, ruining his bid for solo control and enabling Bayron, Guido Van der Valk and Clyde Mondilla to draw level.

Three others matched 74s, including Jhonnel Ababa, Marvin Dumandan and Mars Pucay, who all bogeyed the 18th, while Michael Bibat missed a share of the lead with a closing double-bogey.


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