Manila, February 9: Unheralded Lu Tze-shyan of Chinese Taipei was the unlikeliest of names to join a leaderboard logjam after the first round of the US$300,000 ICTSI Philippine Open on Thursday.
The 31-year-old Lu, who has made two cuts in 26 starts on the Asian Tour, battled to a three-under-par 69 late in the day to make it a six-way tie with Singaporean Mardan Mamat, Japan’s Azuma Yano and Americans Matthew Rosenfeld, Ben Fox and Anthony Kang, a former Philippine Open champion, at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s East course.
Filipino veteran Frankie Minoza, chasing a third Open win, newcomer Charles Hong and Mars Pucay led the local brigade with identical 70s to lie one back with talented Thai Thanyakon Khrongpha and Qualifying School graduates James Byrne of Scotland and Australian Wade Orsmby.
Lu, the nephew of multiple Asian Tour winner Lu Wen-teh, was five-under with four holes to play but dropped two late bogeys to fall back into the joint lead in Asia’s oldest national championship, which is being beamed live on the Asian Tour’s global television platform which reaches over 200 countries.
“I putted well. Holed quite a few 10 foot putts and some long ones. Overall, I played okay. I saw that I was leading and I was happy. But I got a bit nervous as well. On the third hole (his 12th), the TV cameras started to follow me. This is the first time I’m playing well on the Asian Tour and I wasn’t used to it,” said Lu, who started his round with four straight birdies from the 12th holes.