A fabulous five-under 31 on the way in catapulted Unho Park to the top of the leaderboard after the first day of the three-day $30,000 The Laguna National-SPGA Prestige Tour event at Laguna's World Classic Course yesterday.
Teeing off from the 10th tee, Singapore-based Australian Unho, 41, was looking at an inflated score when he scrambled to a double-bogey on the tough par-four 18th hole for a 38 in the outward journey.
"I drove into the water, couldn't reach the green with my three-wood third shot, chipped short and made two putts for a double-bogey.
"In fact, I count myself lucky to get away with a two-over score there, as I had to sink a six-footer on the undulating green, after having played the earlier holes to regulation," said Unho.
In the end, Unho bounced back with five birdies on the way in and would have added a sixth on the finishing par-five hole if not for a three-putt for a brilliant three-under 69.
As his Singapore counterparts kept strolling in with high scores, sitting in the clubhouse, Unho thought he would be well cushioned against the rivalry until Mardan Mamat trudged back.
The Singapore No. 1 shot a consistent 70, buoyed by five birdies to be just one shot behind going into today's second round.
Mardan, 47, was happy with his game, saying: "I was hitting the ball well and, on this tough course, the whole idea is to keep your ball on the fairway and find the green."
Veteran M Murugiah, 51, also the Singapore Professional Golfers Association president, surprised the field with an even-par 72 to lie third out of 48 professionals.
Unho and Murugiah agreed with Mardan that the World Classic Course was perfect for match-play and not stroke-play.
Unho, who shot a 68 on the course once, said: "Once, I played 11 on a par-three, and that's how treacherous the course can be."
The ferocity of the challenging course was evident yesterday when some players returned 11s and 12s on some holes.
The course showed its bite when three professionals and eight amateurs registered three-digit scores yesterday.
69: Unho Park.
70: Mardan Mamat.
72: M Murugiah.
74: Lam Chih Bing.
77: Mitchell Slorach, Quincy Quek.
78: Vincent Khua, Goh Kun Yang, Zaw Moe.
79: Scott Barr, Reagan Png.
80: Gary Kwek, Koh Dengshan, Abiel Franz Lim.Seniors
75: Dino Kwek, Jimmy Poh.
77: Poh Eng Soon, M Balraj.
79: Poh Eng Wah.
80: David Ng.
82: Gao Yang.
88: Andrew Cher, Jimmy Tan.
90: Roni Daryanto
This article was first published on Jan 27, 2015.
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