GENERAL TRIAS, Cavite, Philippines — Elmer Salvador recalled his fierce form and bucked windy condition to shoot a five-under 67 and seize a one-stroke lead over Jhonnel Ababa at the start of the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club’s Aoki course here yesterday.
Salvador, who had three top 10 finishes in the first five legs of the inaugural Philippine Golf Tour Asia late last year, came out of the holiday break in top form, unleashing solid shotmaking and iron shots he complemented with superb putting to take control of the elite field in the $100,000 event serving as the sixth leg of the region’s newest circuit.
“I played solid, everything was in place, including my irons and putting. I just hope to keep this form or play even better in the next three days,” said Salvador, who birdied six of the first 12 holes before slowing down with two bogeys against a birdie in the last five holes.
Still, his 32-35 card proved enough to net him the early lead in the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI with Ababa birdying the par-3 17th to stay within striking distance at 68.
Ababa, also out to snap a long title drought, hit six birdies but made two bogeys to settle at second while Thai Tommy Mansuwan stumbled at the finish and shot a 70, dropping to joint third with Joenard Rates and Dutch Guido Van der Valk.