LUBAO, Pampanga -- Jonas Christian Magcalayo put up a brave stand against strong opposition, firing a one-under par 71 at the start of the 17th World University Golf Championships at the Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club here Wednesday.
Magcalayo, one of three Filipino players in the prestigious 68-player, 13-nation tournament, pieced together nines of 35 and 36 in what he described as “a good round” in the newly-built par-72 course located in this historic province known as the ‘Cradle of Pampanga civilization.’
The 21-year-old Construction Engineering student of Mapua could have done a lot better “had it not for a double bogey coming home on the 17th hole.”
“I was three-under going to the 17th but I think the adrenaline was getting into me and suddenly I double bogeyed,” said Magcalayo, a veteran of the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei.
Overall, the pride of Quezon, Romblon had four birdies, one bogey and double bogey.
Henry Tschopp of Switzerland finished with an eagle-aided four-under par 68 to take the early lead in this prestigious tournament organized by the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP) and sanctioned by the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
Taisei Shimizu of Japan shot an opening-day 69 highlighted by six birdies for second place, while Matthew Cheung of Hong Kong hit a 70 spiked by two eagles and two birdies in the newly-built par-72 course located in this historic province known as the “Cradle of Pampanga civilization”.
Magcalayo, Chao Hua-Lee of Taiwan, Muhammad Razif of Malaysia and Jinathan Lai of Hong Kong shared fourth to seventh places with 71s.
Tschopp overcame a slow start with an eagle on the par-5 12th hole and birdies on two of his last three holes to put himself in position to win the championship for players 25 years old and below.
“I had a bad start, but I kept my patience and just relaxed,” said the 21-year-old Swiss campaigner.
Asked about Thursday’s second round, Tschopp said he will use the same strategy. “I will just try the same strategy tomorrow. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. Let’s see.”
His closest rival, Shimizu, also had a rollercoaster round.
The Japanese birdied four holes but bogeyed the par-5 No. 3 on the frontnine.
Two more birdies -- on No. 12 and No. 15 -- and the same number of bogeys -- on No. 11 and No. 16 -- at the backnine kept him three-under.
Cheung gunned down two eagles and two birdies to makeup for four bogeys.
The two other Filipino campaigners -- Lanz William Uy and Ruperto Zaragosa -- had forgettable debuts.
Uy, a student of Techological University of the Philippines, carded a four-over 76, while Zaragosa, a mainstay of Lyceum of the Philippines University, had a five-over 77.
In the women’s division, Elodie Chapelet of France and Hei Name Isabella Leung of Hong Kong shared the lead with one-over 73.
Ana Paula Ramirez Perea of Mexico carded a 74 for the third place.
Minji Kang and Dasom Ma, both of South Korea, had 75 in a tie with three other players.
The Philippines’ Annika Victoria Guangko and Denise Angela Pineda were too far behind to pose a threat with 93 and 95.
In the men’s team event, Japan and Hong Kong share the lead with 141 with Shimizu and Daiki Imano and Cheung and Lai leading the charge, respectively.
France, led by Chapelet, took the early lead in the women’s division with 149.
The tournament is also supported by the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Arena Lux Enterprise, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc., Seascape Village and Aurora Securities, Inc.