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VILLANCENCIO TAKES ONE-SHOT LEAD AT ABOITIZ
 
VILLANCENCIO TAKES ONE-SHOT LEAD AT ABOITIZ INVITATIONAL
 
Cebu, Philippines: Filipino Arnold Villancencio was the lone player to break par as he grabbed the first round lead in the Aboitiz Invitational presented by ICTSI on the Asian Development Tour on Wednesday.
 
Villancencio battled to a one-under-par 69 at the challenging Cebu Country Club to hold a one-shot advantage over countryman Marvin Dumandan, who returned a 70 in the US$65,000 event, the first ADT tournament held in the Philippines.
 
It was a good day for the home challenge as eight local stars occupied the top-11 places, with Edgar Ababa, Elmer Salvador, former Philippine Open champion Cassius Casas, Jay Bayron and Antonio Asistio lurking in joint third place on 71.
 
American Jonathan Moore, currently second on the ADT Order of Merit, battled to a 72 to lie alongside Thailand’s Tommy Mansuwan and Filipinos Randy Garalde and teenager Miguel Tabuena. Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera opened his campaign with a 74 which was matched by ADT Order of Merit leader Chiang Chen-chih of Chinese Taipei.
 
Last week’s Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship winner Kao Shang-hung retired after six holes due to illness. Villacencio is hoping to become the first Filipino to triumph on the ADT which was launched last year as a platform for emerging stars across the region to hone their skills and challenge for a place on the established Asian Tour.
 
“The key here actually is driving. But it’s still too early to tell (if I can win) although it’s a good start,” said Villacencio. He started with bogeys on the 11th and 13th holes but fought back with birdies on 14 and 16 from inside of five feet. Villacencio dropped another shot on the 18th but picked up two more closing birdies on eight and nine to top the leaderboard.
 
Dumandan, who traded two birdies against as many bogeys, was happy to stay close to the leader as he struggled to find the putting surface. “I hit just three greens, so I guess I would have had a better score if I had hit more greens,” said Dumandan.
 
The 16-year-old Tabuena was disappointed that his move up the leaderboard was stopped by a costly double bogey on 11 when he found water. “I was even par after nine holes but found the water for the double on 11.
 
It was hard to stop the ball on the greens all day,” he said. The Aboitiz Invitational is staged in partnership with the Philippine Golf Tour. It is the penultimate event on the 2011 ADT season.
 
The top three players from the ADT Order of Merit will gain Asian Tour cards for 2012.
 
 
Leading first round scores69: Arnold VILLACENCIO (Phi)70: Marvin DUMANDAN (Phi)71: Edgar ABABA (Phi), Elmer SALVADOR (Phi), Cassius CASAS (Phi), Jay BAYRON (Phi), Antonio ASISTIO (Phi)72: Miguel TABUENA (Phi), Jonathan MOORE (USA), Tommy MANSUWAN (Tha), Randy GARALDE (Phi)73: Raul MINOZA (Phi), Jonel ABABA (Phi), Matt DOCKING (Aus), Antonio LASCUNA (Phi), Michael BIBAT (Phi), Anthony FERNANDO (Phi), Rufino BAYRON (Phi), Albin ENGINO (Phi), Paolo SAN GABRIEL (Phi)

Photo - Asian Tour

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