Ardina marks pro debut on ICTSI tour

Dottie Ardina, perhaps the most decorated lady golfer to have come out of the ranks, makes her keenly awaited pro debut in the inaugural ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, which unwraps next month in Canlubang.

Ardina, a former Junior World champion who has racked up a number of local and international titles in a checkered amateur career, will head the roster in the first-ever local ladies pro circuit put up by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. to provide local lady golfers a money circuit of their own like their men’s counterparts on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.

The upcoming tour will also serve as a fitting vehicle for Ardina, a five-time US Kids World champion and winner of seven titles here and abroad last year, to launch her pro career along with ICTSI teammates Jayvie Agojo and Lovelynn Guioguio.

“I’m so excited but I don’t want to put too much expectations (on myself). I just want to enjoy the moment and hopefully dish out my best always,” said Ardina, last year’s PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) awardee whose victories at True Visions in Thailand and the WWWExpress-DHL Championships at Cangolf early this year served as her last triumphs in the ranks.

“I’d also like to thank Mr. (Ricky) Razon for giving all of us a chance to have a career after our amateur days,” added Ardina, referring to the ICTSI chair and CEO, whose all-out support to Philippine golf includes the men’s pro, jungolf and the ladies amateur.

Meanwhile, registration is ongoing for the 36-hole ICTSI LPGT Qualifier set May 2-3 at Cangolf’s South course. Fee is pegged at P2,000. For details, contact Jocelyn Duque at 0915-7824751 or emailphilippinegolftour@yahoo.com.

Former and current lady pros will no longer go through the qualifier and can play direct in the tournament proper, which kicks off May 15-17 for the first leg at The Country Club in Laguna. The LPGT embership fee is P3,000.

The Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. has lined up an initial five-leg circuit over the country’s top courses this year with organizers of the Asian Ladies Team Championship, an annual event at Camp John Hay in Baguio, signifying their intention to insert the event into the ICTSI LPGT calendar.

Each leg will offer a total prize pot of P500,000 with the winner to take home P100,000.(pr)

ICTSI to launch ladies pro tour

In its continuing effort to help develop Philippine golf and produce world class talents, the International Container Terminal Services Inc. will launch a first-ever ladies pro tour next month with the qualifier set this week at the South course of the Canlubang golf complex in Laguna.

Dubbed as the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, the event will kick off an initial five-leg circuit offering a total prize fund of P2.5 million beginning May 15-17 at The Country Club, also in Laguna, with hopes of expanding it the following year.

The qualifying stage will be held May 3-4 at Cangolf’s South layout with the leading players from the country’s top clubs, including the WGAP (Women’s Golf Association of the Phl.) campaigners, expected to participate. Those scoring 160 or better after 36 holes will gain berths in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Registration is ongoing with fee pegged at P5,000. For details, contact Jocelyn Duque at 0915-7824751 or email philippinegolftour@yahoo.com.

ICTSI’s staging of the ladies pro tour thus expands the world’s top port operator’s involvement in the country’s golf’s development program. It revived the men’s pro tour in 2009 that has become a lucrative circuit with 16 legs lined up this year, including eight offering P2.5 million each.

ICTSI is also the chief backer of the Philippine jungolf program and circuit with a year-round calendar and has maintained a pool of ladies amateur golfers, headed by international champions Dottie Ardina, Jayvie Agojo, Cyna Rodriguez and Princess Superal.

The ICTSI LPGT will offer P500,000 each leg with the winner getting P100,000.

Other venues being eyed to host the upcoming circuit are Wack Wack, Southwoods, Camp John Hay in Baguio and Canlubang with the Asian Ladies Team Championship, an annual event at John Hay, also expected to be included in the upcoming circuit.(pr)

Dabawenyo edges Tabuena in playoff, bags ICTSI crown

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Jay Bayron (center) holds his trophy and prize worth P450,000 after edging Miguel Tabuena on the second playoff hole to win the ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship title yesterday. With him are ICTSI PR manager Narlene Soriano (left) and John Hay Golf Club manager Heiner Maulbecker. (pr)

Davao City’s Jay Bayron birdied three of the last five holes to shoot a nine-under 59 then nipped Miguel Tabuena on the second playoff hole to capture the P2.5 million ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship crown at the John Hay Golf Club here yesterday.

Bayron hit a 10-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff as Tabuena cracked under pressure and missed clinching it outright with a flubbed putt that came short from a closer distance. He finished with a four-under 64, enabling Bayron to tie him at a record 23-under 249.

But after both parred the first playoff hole at the par-3 15th, Bayron came through with a solid 4-iron second shot from 210 yards on their second trip on the par-5 16th that landed just about three feet of the pin. He missed the eagle putt but clinched the crown worth P450,000 as Tabuena failed to reach it in two and missed a long putt for birdie to extend the match.

“I didn’t expect to win this one. I’ve never done this before, to come back from a such big deficit,” said Bayron in Filipino, who turned 34 Thursday.

Bayron thus snapped a two-year long title drought on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

It wasn’t actually a sorry finish for 18-year-old Tabuena, who completed a record bogey-free 54-hole stint despite a bum stomach Friday. He extended that amazing run to four more holes in the final round, even birdying three of them until he stumbled to his first bogey on No. 5. He made another bogey on No. 7 but birdied three of the last nine holes for that 64. He took home P320,000.

Jhonnel Ababa rallied with three straight birdies and finished with a 63 for solo third at 251 worth P210,000 while Rufino Bayron shot a 61 for fourth at 253 and took home P150,000 in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

Richard Sinfuego also turned in a swashbuckling 60 to jump from out of nowhere to solo fifth at 255 and won P110,000 while the Srixon-backed Michael Bibat and Clyde Mondilla both carded 65s and ended tied for sixth at 256. Each got P87,500.

Tony Lascuna wound up eighth at 258 after a 67 and received P70,000 while Rey Pagunsan set a new course record 58, erasing Carl Santos-Ocampo’s 59 last year, to share ninth place at 260 with Christopher delos Santos (66), Randy Garalde (66) and Elmer Salvador (67). Each received P50,125.

Just when everybody thought Tabuena would cruise to another victory after storming to a three-shot lead over Ababa over the course he had mastered with a run of bogey-free cards in the first three rounds, Bayron worked his way back with a run of birdies of his own then made an eagle on the drivable par-4 No. 8 to tie Tabuena.

Still, the young Tabuena refused to give up, pouncing on Bayron’s bogey on the ninth to regain the lead then went two-up again with a brilliant birdie on the 10th after opting for a conservative iron-tee shot on the reachable par-4 hole before pitching to within six feet.

Bayron and Ababa expectedly went for the green but failed to set up decent birdie chances, enabling Tabuena to post another two-shot cushion.

Bayron, however, birdied the par-3 11th from three feet to close the gap again although Tabuena hung tough, birdying No. 13 to go two-up again then hit another one on the 16th to preserve a one-stroke lead over Bayron, who struck back again by birdying Nos. 15 and 16.

After both parred the par-5 17th, Bayron rolled in a crucial 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 18th, then watched Tabuena wilt under pressure, falling short of what could’ve been a winning birdie putt from a closer distance.

The event, the second leg of the 16-stage circuits, was backed by Nike Golf, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon, Foot Joy, Callaway, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Cleveland Golf and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.(pr)

Jay Bayron whoops it up as he acknowledges the cheers from the gallery after sinking a clutch birdie putt on the 18th to tie Miguel Tabuena. He went on to snatch the ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship with a tap-in birdie on the second playoff hole.(pr)
Jay Bayron whoops it up as he acknowledges the cheers from the gallery after sinking a clutch birdie putt on the 18th to tie Miguel Tabuena. He went on to snatch the ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship with a tap-in birdie on the second playoff hole.(pr)

Tabuena stays flawless, storms to 3-shot lead with 62

Miguel Tabuena kept pounding the Camp John Hay layout and the field with another bogey-free six-under 62, whisking off Dabawenyo Rufino Bayron and Michael Bibat and storming to a three-shot lead over a charging Jhonnel Ababa, another Dabawenyo, in the third round of the ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship yesterday.

Tabuena appeared to have had more trouble bucking a bum stomach than outplaying Bayron and Bibat in the final threesome as he dished out another superb all around game to extend his amazing spot-less run to 54 holes while threatening to blow away the field the way he did in the ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour’s kickoff leg at Sherwood Hills last month.

He putted from the fringe on the reachable par-5 16th for an eagle, capping another 62 for a whopping 19-under 185 total in the tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. Tied with Bayron halfway through the P2.5 million event, Tabuena now moved three shots clear of Ababa, who sizzled two flights ahead with an eight-under 60 to take the challenger’s role at 188.

“How I wished it to be a 54-hole tournament,” said Tabuena, referring to this event that was played through 54 holes last year but now a 72-hole championship and one of the eight P2.5 million tournaments in this year’s ICTSI PGT calendar.

He was grimacing in pain as he turned in his scorecard that nevertheless showed the brilliance in the 18-year-old find, who birdied four of the first 10 holes while coming through with awesome flop shots that either set up birdie opportunities and tap-in pars in times that he went out of regulation.

Jay Bayron, the reigning Asian Development Tour Order of Merit champion, continued his steady rise with a 62, capped by a closing three-birdie binge as he joined today’s final group at 190.

Bibat, just one down behind Tabuena and Rufino Bayron at the start of the round, failed to sustain a three-birdie string from No. 9 and fumbled with three bogeys against two more birdies in the last seven holes for a one-under 67. He dropped to joint fourth with Zanie Boy Gialon, Tony Lascuna and Clyde Mondilla, who shot 62, 63 and 64, respectively, for 191s.

Rufino Bayron, who carded the first 60 in the first round, never recovered from a bogey-bogey start and ended up with a one-over 69 to tumble to eighth at 192 while Elmer Salvador and James Ryan Lam each had a 62 to tie Dutch Guido Van Der Valk, who made a 63, at 193.

While Tabuena primed up for another title romp after posting an eight-shot win over Edward Reyes at ICTSI Sherwood, Ababa put himself in contention for the top P450,000 purse with that 60 sparked by a sizzling four-birdie start.

Ababa, who racked up three wins in 2011 to clinch the Player of the Year award but had a fruitless campaign last year, also rolled in an eagle from the fringe on the short par-4 No. 8 and had four more birdies to negate two three-putt miscues in another windless day.

“I hope to improve on my putting since this will spell the difference in the final round,” said Ababa, still upbeat of his title chances in the event sponsored by ICTSI and backed by Nike Golf, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon, Foot Joy, Callaway, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Cleveland Golf and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.(pr)

PH hosts Putra Cup in June at Sherwood Hills

WITH everything now in place, the Philippines hosts the 53rd Putra Cup, also known as Southeast Asia’s official team golf championship, in June   at the National Golf Association of the Philippines’ official home, Sherwood Hills in Cavite.
The best amateurs in the region will all see action over the wind-swept, ravine-laden layout, with the Philippines seeking to reclaim lost glory in the event it used to dominate with ease in the past.
Tommy Manotoc, the president of the NGAP and the moving force behind the rejuvenation of amateur golf in the land, and ASEAN Golf Federation Secretary General Datuk Zain Yusuf  sealed the hosting rights last Saturday at the Resorts World Manila.
The MGA owns the Putra Cup, one of the oldest events in the region and  Datuk Zain  was only too happy to award the hosting rights to the Philippines, especially after being taken to a tour of Sherwood Hills and its facilities.
Incidentally, Manotoc was also named the president of the Asean Golf Federation, an honor given to the president of the host country’s golf association.
“I must congratulate Tommy and  the NGAP for a fantastic arrangement (of the venue and its amenities),” said Datuk Zain. “The participating countries will surely enjoy our tournament.”
“We’re all excited to come and play in the Philippines,” said the AGF SecGen.
The event will just be one of several major amateur tilts that Sherwood will accommodate as its president, Atty. Harry Paltongan, has opened the club’s doors to practically all projects of the NGAP to help in the development of the sport in the country.   Other  NGAP upcoming tournaments to be held at   Sherwood Hills are  the official national Philippine Junior Amateur Open Golf Championship (May 2-5),   the   Philippine Junior Amateur Closed Golf Championship  (June 6-9) and the Philippine Amateur Closed Golf Championship  (June 13-16) which are all under the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour.
Paltongan was with Manotoc when the agreement for the hosting was signed.
Hosting the event also gives the NGAP a clear look at the opposition when the Philippines plays in the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar (Burma) later in the year. The SEAG gold has also been an elusive target in the recent past for the Filipinos.(pr)
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Tommy Manotoc (seated, center), the president of the National Golf Association of the Philippines, joins hands with  ASEAN Golf Federation  Secretary General Datuk  Zain Yusuf (left) and Sherwood Hills president Atty. Harry Paltongan (right) in announcing the Philippines’ hosting of the  53rd Putra Cup in June. Witnessing the ceremony, standing from left to right, were Malaysian Golf Association  Hon SecGen Dato Zulkifli Ismail,  Ms. Sara Ismail,  the MGA Deputy GM and Mr. Boom Coscoluella  of the NGAP.

Accel-PBA POTW: Ranidel de Ocampo

WHEN Talk N Text coach Norman Black was talking about his team being made up of experienced players, ones who know when to turn their game up a notch in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

“They know if we’re going to have to make a run we have to make it now,” said Black.
He might as well have been specifically talking about Ranidel de Ocampo.
The 31-year-old led the Tropang Texters’ locals who willingly stepped up the most, enabling them to take the short route to the semifinals and earn for himself the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the period April 15 to 21.
The Philippine Cup Finals MVP spearheaded TNT’s charge over Petron Blaze in their quarterfinals duel with averages of 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, while helping out in defending Petron’s imposing frontline headlined by Henry Sims and June Mar Fajardo.
In TNT’s back-to-back 100-93 and 96-86 victories in the best-of-three series, De Ocampo  averaged 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, more than making up for the absence of Kelly Williams and import Jerome Jordan’s lackluster performance thus far. 
Williams has been indefinitely sidelined by his old blood disorder while Jordan has averaged only 11 points and 5.0 rebounds in those two games.
“No question, Ranidel was solid as a rock for us in the series versus Petron,” said Black of his 6-foot-5 forward-center, who shot 15-for-23 from the field, including 4-for-9 from beyond the arc. 
“His performance inside the lane and beyond the three-point line was the key,” noted Black.
Indeed, De Ocampo’s recent efforts saw his stats line rise from a three-point shooting of 37 percent and an average of 10.9 points in the 14-game eliminations.
“At this point of the conference he seems fresh and energetic and he recognizes that he really needs to be consistent in the absence of Kelly Williams,” said Black.
The Texters now await the winner of the Barangay Ginebra-Rain or Shine as opponent in the best-of-five semis, where De Ocampo is again expected to play a vital role.
For sure, he will not disappoint.(pr)

Tabuena ties Dabawenyo at helm with solid 62

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TABUENA

Miguel Tabuena continued to dish out solid games rarely seen from teeners, shooting another flawless round of six-under 62 and catching Dabawenyo Rufino Bayron at the helm halfway P2.5 million ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship at the John Hay Golf Club yesterday.

Tabuena, 18, hit two birdies at the front then rattled off four birdies at the back in impressive fashion for that 62 when heavy rain fell and the round was suspended due to lightning with seven flights still out to complete play.

“I just stuck to my game plan – be patient,” said Tabuena, whose well laid-out strategy on this short but tricky course kept him on track for another crack at the crown on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.

“It’s a matter of hitting the greens right since they are slow and hard,” added Tabuena, who fired a bogey-less 61 Wednesday and now within 36 holes away from scoring rare back-to-back victories and banking another P450,000 purse after essaying an eight-shot romp at ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic.

He pooled a 13-under 123, the same output put in by title-hungry Rufino Bayron, the first round solo leader who needed a spectacular 4-iron second shot from 250 yards that rolled to within a foot for eagle on the par-5 17th to shoot a 63 and stay in the lead in the 72-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

“I really went for the green on No. 17 nearly made an albatross,” said Bayron, chasing his first pro title although he had won one when he was still an amateur five years ago.

“Magandang laban ito,” added Bayron, hoping to take the best out of the young Tabuena in the featured flight today.

Michael Bibat, also out to snap a four-year title drought in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., also eagled the 17th from 40 feet to turn in the day’s best score of seven-under 61 after a 63, putting him in the final threesome at 124.

“It’s better not to come up with expectations, so there is less pressure. That also keeps my focus on the game,” said the Srixon-backed Bibat, whose best finish in a four-year pro career was second in the Malaysian leg of the Asean PGA Tour in 2008.

Clyde Mondilla, one of those stranded, hoped to break into the top three with a three-under card and a running 10-under total with six holes left to play while Tony Lascuna bucked a back injury with a second straight 64 to join a faltering Jhonnel Ababa, who settled for a 67 after a 61 at 128, five shots off the joint leaders.

Five players stood at seven-under 129, including Zanie Boy Gialon (62), Rolando Marabe (65) and last year’s champion Marvin Dumandan (65) with Jay Bayron and Carl Santos-Ocampo also assembling a seven-under overall card with three holes to play.

Thirty six players have so far broke par, six more than in the first round, with 21 more still to complete play at presstime although condition is expected to get tougher in the final two days with soggy fairways and testy pin placements.

The event, sponsored by ICTSI, backed by Nike Golf, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon, Foot Joy, Callaway, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Cleveland Golf and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.(pr)

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BAYRON