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Rho sinks ace to highlight Masters opening-round 67

The Philippine Star
Rho sinks ace to highlight Masters opening-round 67
Hyun Ho Rho
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines —  Hyun Ho Rho outgunned Ryan Monsalve in an early shootout between two emerging stars of the Philippine Golf Tour, spiking his solid, five-under 67 with a hole-in-one in the first round of the ICTSI Philippine Masters at the Villamor Golf Club yesterday.

The 2023 PGT Q-School topnotcher aced the 195-yard No. 4, complemented by three birdies, including two in the last three holes for a bogey-free 33-34 performance in scorching conditions.

Monsalve had an impressive start in the third flight with Rho and veteran Marvin Dumandan, eagling the par-5 No. 2 and bouncing back from a mishap on third hole with birdie on No. 6. He dominated the next two long holes on Nos. 8 and 13 but couldn’t match Rho’s birdie on the par-5 18th.

Still, Monsalve’s 68 put himself in early contention in the P2 million championship, his best start in a career marked by a fifth-place finish in his first pro event at Apo last March.

“I hit it solid, straight to the pin. I didn’t even know it went it until my sister told me,” said the 19-year-old Rho.

Rho had mixed results in the first three legs of this year’s PGT. He tied for 15th at Apo, missed the cut at Palos Verdes and struggled to a share of 36th at Caliraya Springs.

Recording his first ace in the ranks, Rho described his overall game as good, though he noted some missed birdie chances.

“I wasn’t really putting well, but I was lucky to sink my par putts,” said Rho, who used a 5-iron and Titleist No. 2 ball for the ace worth P20,000 from the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

The young talents stood out against the seasoned campaigners with Aidric Chan shooting a 69 for solo third. Lloyd Go, a winner at Palos Verdes, and Guido van der Valk, twice a runner-up here, each positioned themselves with 71s.

Monsalve, on the other hand, credited his execution, especially off the tee, for his strong performance in the early going of the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI.

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HYUN HO RHO

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