Benjie Magada made a tap-in birdie on the third playoff hole to outlast Tony Lascuna and capture the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship crown at The Orchard’s Player Course in Dasmarinas, Cavite, Friday.
Magada knocked down a superb 5-wood second shot from 235 yards to set up a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th then watched Lascuna muff his own birdie try from 16 feet to clinch the hard-earned victory worth P200,000.
“Medyo sinuwerte lang at nadaan sa experience,” said Magada, who also beat Lascuna in the final of the of the Seremban Masters of the Malaysia Tour in 2008 but winless in last year’s inaugural of the ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour sponsored
by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“Masayang-masaya din dahil sa edad kong ito, nananalo pa tayo,” said Magada.
It was indeed an inspiring win for the 44-year-old Magada, who had forgettable stints in five of the first six legs of the current circuit where he finished outside of the top 10 in three legs while missing the cut in two others.
He was also forced to skip last week’s ICTSI Mt. Malarayat Classic due to a bout with arthritis.
But after stringing rounds of 69 and 68 to join Lascuna at helm, Magada hung tough with clutch pars at the back to figure in the playoff, actually a three-man shootout after Jay Bayron joined the duo with a closing 70 for a 210.
Magada closed out with a 73 while Lascuna needed a birdie on the 72nd hole to join the sudden death.
Bayron, who had a string of runner-up finishes on the ICTSI-PGT circuit and the Mercedes Benz Tour, dropped out of contention on the first playoff hole, also on the 18th, when he missed a birdie putt from eight feet.
Magada and Lascuna both made tap-in birdies to advance with the duo sending the playoff to a third hole with a pair of pars, also on No. 18.
But Magada pounced on Lascuna’s errant second shot on their fourth trip on the 18th, hitting a solid 5-wood shot for that two-putt birdie clincher.
“Na-trouble kasi yung second shot ko at mga dalawang pins pa yung birdie putt ko to tie,” rued Lascuna, who settled for P120,000.
Three shots adrift and a flight behind with younger brother Rufino Bayron and ICTSI Forest Hills Classic winner Mars Pucay, Jay Bayron worked his way up with an eagle-aided 33 at the front but missed winning it outright with a bogey on No. 17.
He took home P65,000.
Pucay also pressed his bid with a 34 after nine holes but he bogeyed two of the first five holes at the back and needed to hole out with a birdie to shoot a 70 for joint fourth place with Jun Bernis at 211.
Bernis also made a 34 at the turn but missed a couple of birdie chances and also wound up with a 70.
Casas, who sparked hopes of snapping a long title drought on the local front when he moved within one stroke of Lascuna and Magada after 36 holes, bogeyed three of his first 12 holes and finished without a birdie for a 75. He slipped
to joint sixth with Rufino Bayron, Danny Zarate and amateur Jerson Balasabas at 213.
Rufino Bayron, who once won a leg on the ICTSI-PGT circuit as an amateur, shot a 35 at the front but like majority of the contenders, wavered coming home with a 38 for a 73.
Zarate, back on a winless spell after ending an 11-year title drought last year at ICTSI-Mt. Malarayat, closed out with a 69 for a 213 while Balasabas showed up the pros to turn in the lowest score at the back – a 31 – that gave the ICTSI-Cangolf bet the day’s best round of 67 for a 213.
Elmer Saban matched par 72 for a 214 and wound up 10th in the tournament organized by the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by byMJ Carr Golf Management, Jaguar, Land Rover, Studio 23, Balls TV, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, Callaway Golf, Odyssey and Golf Punk and media partners Business Mirror, Inquirer Golf Monthly, A Round of Golf, Pinoygolfer.com and Omnisource.(pr)