Clavecilla nips Gaston in playoff for record 5th crown

Iggy, the champion.

Iggy Clavecilla blew a three-stroke lead on No. 17 but pounced on Francis Gaston’s costly blunder on the third playoff hole to annex a record fifth straight crown in the Philippine Senior Amateur Golf Championship at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas, Friday.

Clavecilla looked headed for another romp as he kept a three-shot lead over Gaston with two holes left. But the top Luisita bet made a double on the par-5 17th and Gaston rammed in a birdie for a three-shot swing that set the stage for the playoff.

Both bogeyed No. 18 after missing the green with Clavecilla, four shots ahead at the start of the final round, limping with a 77 and Gaston rallying with a 73 for identical 222s in the tournament organized by the National Golf Association of the Phils.

But disaster struck Gaston on their fourth stint on No. 18 as he hit a wrong ball on his approach to the par-4 hole.

It turned out Gaston, and his caddie, didn’t bother to check his ball after he drove into the rough and instead hit another ball from another flight, which teed off ahead of them.

Clavecilla holed out with a bogey and clinched the win after Gaston conceded the hole and the crown.

For a while, it had appeared to be another cruise for Clavecilla, who even padded his lead to five shots with a birdie on No. 12. But he sputtered coming home with two bogeys and a disastrous double bogey that enabled Gaston to draw level.

Gaston parred No. 15 to gain a stroke, birdied the next the two holes to catch Clavecilla at the helm.

Jose Mari Hechanova matched par 72 to finished third with a 226 while Dave Hernandez rebounded with a 74 to tie former champion Rolly Viray, who made a 78, of Cangolf at fourth with 229.

Richie Garcia came in sixth with a 233 after a 79 followed by Pepot Iñigo (76-234), Florene delos Santos (80-235), Tony Olives (79-235) and Caloy Coscolluela (83-240).

Noli Macasaet rallied with a 77 and finished with a 158 then nipped first round leader Bryan Cockrell in sudden death to capture the Category II (60-64) crown. Cockrell wavered with an 83 and settled for second while Francis Bawal placed third with a 164 after a 79.

Mario Lugay, on the other hand, ran away with the Category III (65-69) diadem with a closing 73 for a 151 and a seven-shot victory over Danilo Pizarro, who had a 158 after a 74. Ben Liclican placed third with a 164 after an 84.

Cesar Castro made an 85 for a 166 as he posted a four-shot win over Danny Sarmiento in Super Senior I (70-74). Sarmiento had a 170 after an 88 while Peter Shanks wound up third with a 171 after an 87.

Jun Galindez also dominated Super Senior II (75-and-above), closing out with another 89 for a 178 and a seven-shot win over Charles Robertson, who had a 90 for a 185. Enrique Beech placed third with a 218 after a 112.(pr)

1st runner-up, Gaston.
2nd runner-up, Hechanova.
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