No stopping Minoza, wins by 5 again

Frankie Minoza took the best dished out by Angelo Que and –like in the previous round – proved again he’s better, closing out with another bogey-free 67 for another five-stroke victory over Elmer Salvador in the P1 million Pueblo de Oro Championship at the Pueblo de Oro layout in Cagayan de Oro City yesterday.
Like in his romp at ICTSI Del Monte last week where he shot a flawless nine-under 63 to rally from five down and win by five over five others, Minoza played like a man on a mission, gunning down five birdies behind solid shotmaking, superb iron play and steady putting.
He quelled and matched Que’s eagle-spiked 33 charge at front before cruising to victory with two more birdies for that five-under card. With his earlier 67 and 64, Minoza wound up with a 198 total and pocketed another P200,000, his 18-under feat easily his best in a 54-hole tournament in years and one of the lowest on the five-year ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
Minoza, who battled Que in a classic backside shootout in the second round where they both shot 29s before finishing with a 64 as against Que’s 66, hit three birdies in the first nine holes to keep his overnight four-shot lead intact at the turn.
Que pressed his bid early on, spiking his frontside 33 with an eagle on No. 7 but that hardly rattled the veteran Minoza, who came through two more birdies and clutch par putts at the back to remain way ahead and preserve a bogey-less round.
In contrast, Que fumbled with a bogey on the par-3 11th against a birdie on the 16th and missed a couple of birdie putts from close range to settle with a 69, enabling Salvador to snatch runner-up honors at 203 with birdies on the last two holes for a 67.
Five behind Minoza after 36 holes, Salvador tried to put the pressure with back-to-back birdies from No. 10. But Minoza birdied No. 12 and Salvador wobbled with two bogeys against a birdie in the next five holes before holing out with two birdies for a 67. He took home P120,000.
Que, the runaway winner at ICTSI Orchard last May, ended up third at 204 worth P90,000.
Orlan Sumcad, who matched Minoza’s 64 Thursday, sustained his form and shot a 68 to finish joint fourth at 207 with Marvin Dumandan, who fired a 66, while Rufino Bayron made a 71 and finished solo sixth at 208 and Dutch Guido Van der Valk rallied with the day’s best 65 after two 72s to salvage solo seventh at 209.
Tony Lascuña, who dominated the ICTSI Calatagan leg and had three runner-up finishes in the first six legs of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.. carded a 70 and wound up tied for eighth at 211 with Benjie Magada, who matched par 72 while Jessie Balasabas, Mars Pucay and last year’s winner Charles Hong shared 10th place at 212 after 69, 70 and 72, respectively.
But it was an all-Minoza show the last two days with the former two-time Philippine Open champion completing first back-to-back win in a long, long while. It was actually his third halfway through the season after ruling The Country Club Invitational by beating brothers Rufino and Jay Bayron last February.
The twin victories likewise boosted Minoza’s confidence as he heads to the Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale in England on July 25-28.
He, however, will miss local circuit’s next 72-hole championship – the Aboitiz Invitaitional in Cebu on July 24-27 but may see action in the ICTSI Classic at Mt. Malarayat on July 31-Aug. 3, both Asian Development Tour legs.
Gen Nagai shot a 73 for a 217 as he took the low amateur honors in the event backed by Nike Golf, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon, Foot Joy, Callaway, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Cleveland Golf, Great Depot and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23, and Inquirer Golf as media partners.(pr)


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