Riding two eagles in the first round, Joenard Rates took the lead alone at the start of the 2.5 million pesos ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters in Pasay City on Wednesday.
Reminding himself to focus and relax, Rates took down the eagle at par-5 number 8 and par-4 number 15 to finish 7 under 65.
“I’m just trying to relax [and] Hit as many greens and fairways. If you hit the fairway, you need to take advantage of that.”
Rates, who last won at PGTA Summit Point in 2018, said. “I was lucky because I had a good putt today, hopefully until the weekend and sticking to the lead.”
His odds of knocking out a birdie in 3rd place before scoring another fiery birdie treble from 12th, nearly wiped his drug out of 5th.
“[I am] Try to minimize errors. It’s been a tough road… I have to be more consistent in my swing, in my shots,” Rates told the Filipino-language Inquirer.
Jhonnel Ababa came back from a spooky start with four birdies to finish in 2nd place with a under-3 card, level with South Korea’s Hyun Ho-rho.
Meanwhile, Daniella Uy saved her first round with consecutive birdies after beating hole 16 at par-5 to take a two-stroke lead in the women’s tournament.
Uy started the day in the sweltering heat at Villamor with birdies in 1st and 4th but slowed down after a bogey in 5th.
“I’ve saved a lot of parsing, I have stymie on the drive,” says Uy. “I have to hit more fairways and greens tomorrow.”
Defending Order of Merit champion Chihiro Ikeda drew with Marvi Monsalve in second with an even hand as both players went through a bogey round on Wednesday.
“It was a pretty wild round. In fact, I made a lot of mistakes,” Monsalve said.
Register QUESTIONER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and more than 70 other titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.