PLDT Home Ultera overcame a first-set stumble and strung up three set wins in close fashions to hack out a 16-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-23 victory over Cagayan Valley yesterday in a preview of their championship showdown in the inaugural Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan.
TARLAC – Charles Hong pounced on erstwhile leader Clyde Mondilla’s early foldup and Keanu Jahns’ backside meltdown to wrest control then fended off three rivals with a gritty finish to salvage a two-under 70 and capture the ICTSI Luisita Championship crown by two at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here.
Hong came through with clutch birdies on Nos. 12 and 15 in scorching heat and foiled Orlan Sumcad, Tony Lascuña and Marvin Dumandan’s threats in separate flights with a brave run of pars in the last three holes, including the tough par-3 17th, to bag the hotly-disputed crown with a 15-under 273 total worth P360,000.
“This victory validates my two other wins that I can do it anytime,” said Hong, who nipped Richard Sinfuego in sudden death at ICTSI Pueblo de Oro for his maiden win in 2012 then rallied from behind to nip young American Micah Shin by one at ICTSI Sherwood Hills last year.
With Mondilla and Jahns dropping out of contention one after the other with a 41 start for an 80 (Mondilla) and a 40 finish for a 75 (Jahns), Hong kept his focus and only asked for the update when they headed to the difficult long No. 17, which he said could make-or-break one’s title bid.
“I didn’t dare to ask on what’s happening in the flights ahead and just concentrated on my game since I was not doing good for most part of the day.” said Hong. “And because I didn’t know what’s happening, I was able to take care on fixing my game and it also took some pressure off.
“But I precisely asked on No. 17 because that’s the toughest hole, which played to around 215 yards,” added Hong, who kept his run of under-par rounds that included a 66, 68 and 69 over the par-72 layout which made its return to the pro circuit after 26 years.
Sumcad tried to duplicate Angelo Que’s feat last week when the three-time Asian Tour winner rallied from six shots down to snare the ICTSI Anvaya plum as the power-hitting pro sizzled at the back with six birdies in the last eight. But Sumcad ran out of holes and settled for joint second at 275 despite a second straight 66.
Five behind Hong two flights ahead, Lascuña recalled the form that netted him five ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour leg victories last year, birdying four of the first five holes and catching the Cebuano bet at 14-under with another birdie on No. 14.
But Hong birdied No. 15 and Lascuña bogeyed the par-3 17th as the latter ended up with a 67 to share runner-up honors with Sumcad at 275.
Dumandan made it a three-way for second as the long-hitting pro, who trailed Hong by four after 54 holes, moved within one with a birdie on No. 11 but failed to gain headway with flubbed birdie chances in at least two holes in the last seven and wound up with a 69.
Sumcad, Lascuña and Dumandan each got P168,333.
Jay Bayron also rallied at the back with four birdies in the last seven holes to save a 70 and snare solo fifth at 276 and took home P89,000 while Frankie Miñoza, the last player to win at Luisita in the 1989 President’s Cup, birdied No. 16 to likewise salvage a 70 for solo sixth at 277 worth P78,000.
Jahns, who sparked hopes of a breakthrough win in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI when he surged ahead of the elite field with a solid 36-hole output of 11-under 133 Thursday, held his ground with a gutsy 35 start but faded with a bogey on the par-5 12th and fell to joint seventh instead with a double-bogey on No. 16 and a bogey on the final hole. He wound up with a 40 for a 75 and a 278 in a tie with Jhonnel Ababa and Zanie Boy Gialon, who shot a 67 and 73, respectively. Each received P57,666.
Elmer Salvador failed to sustain a fiery third round 67 as he stumbled with a one-over 73 and tumbled to solo 10th at 279 and got P45,000.
Worse was Mondilla, who moved 18 holes away from nailing his second career win after topping the ICTSI Canlubang leg last year when he grabbed the solo lead with a hot finish of 33 for a 67 in the third round. But he made a cold start in the final round, bogeying three of the first four holes to drop out of the lead, made two more bogeys on Nos. 6 and 7 and fell with a thud with a 41.
The young pro did fight back with two birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 but dropped five strokes in the last four holes, marred by double-bogey mishaps on Nos. 15 and 18 and shot himself in the foot with a fat 80. He ended up at No. 15 with a 282.(pr)
TARLAC – Clyde Mondilla outgunned Charles Hong and Keanu Jahns in a backside shootout and came away with a bogey-free five-under 67 to seize a one-stroke lead in the third round of the P2 million ICTSI Luisita Championship at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
Kept at bay by the gutsy two-day leader Jahns and second-running Hong despite a two-birdie feat at the frontside, Mondilla rattled off three more birdies in the last nine holes then watched Jahns crack under pressure in the closing holes to overcome a two-shot deficit and storm ahead with a 14-under 202 aggregate.
The soft-spoken former national champion thus moved 18 holes away from nailing his second victory after scoring a breakthrough at ICTSI Canlubang where he nipped veteran Cassius in a final round duel late last year.
Hong, one behind Jahns at the halfway mark of the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI, fell one birdie short of Mondilla’s backside feat and settled for a 69 as the two-time ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour leg winner stayed at second at 203 in a tie with Jahns, who looked headed for another impressive round with a four-under card after 12 holes until he stumbled with back-to-back bogeys from No. 16 and dropped to joint second with a 70.
Still, the troika will slug it out in today’s final round in a continuation of their spirited third round duel for the top P360,000 purse tipped to go up the 72nd hole.
Jhonnel Ababa, who missed the cut by one at ICTSI Anvaya last week, matched Mondilla’s three-birdie binge at the back in the other flight and turned in a 68 but stood three shots off Mondilla at 205.
Title-hungry and power-hitting Marvin Dumandan gunned down an eagle on No. 5 and knocked down four birdies, preserving a solid round with two scrambling pars to match the tournament-best 66 posted by Mondilla, Hong, Jahns and Albin Engino in the first round of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
But Dumandan will have a lot of work to do to overhaul a four-stroke deficit at 206, the same output put in by former ICTSI PGT Order of Merit winners Jay Bayron and Elmer Salvador, who both carded 67s.
Frankie Miñoza, who sparked hopes of a repeat of his title feat when the par-72 course last hosted a pro championship – the President’s Cup – in 1989, failed to sustain a pair of 68s with a 71, slipping to eighth at 207, five shots off Mondilla.
Like Miñoza, the reigning three-time OOM winner Tony Lascuña slowed down with a 70 after a second day 67 as he pooled a 208 for joint ninth with Rolando Marabe, who made a 71.
Miguel Tabuena, winner of the PGT kickoff leg at Splendido and one of the early favorites to win this sixth leg of the circuit, hardly moved up with a 69 after back-to-back 70s, his 209 putting him in joint 11th with long-hitting Orlan Sumcad, who eagled the par-4 No. and hit five more birdies against a bogey for the day’s other 66, and Japanese Toru Nakajima and Yuta Sudo, who both fired 70s.
Enjoying top form, Jahns pulled away by three over Hong and by five over Mondilla with three birdies in the first six holes. But he bogeyed No. 7 which Mondilla birdied and the latter stayed back within two off Jahns and tied Hong at second as they made the turn.
Jahns hit back-to-back birdies from No. 11 but Mondilla pressed his bid with his own birdies on Nos. 11, 13 and 15 with Hong reeling back with a lone birdie on the 12th.
But just when he thought he had kept Mondilla and Hong in check, Jahns lost his momentum and stumbled with bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17, enabling Mondilla to surge ahead and Hong keeping alive his drive for a third career victory.(pr)
TARLAC – Keanu Jahns put in another superb round of five-under 67, wresting a one-stroke lead over erstwhile co-leader Charles Hong and another shot ahead of Clyde Mondilla as they continued to show up the top guns halfway through the ICTSI Luisita Championship at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
Jahns, who matched Hong, Mondilla and Albin Engino’s 66 as the unfancied bets took charge in Wednesday’s opening round of the P2 million event, stumbled with a bogey on No. 2 which he birdied in the first round but rattled off eight birdies as he bucked tough pin placements at the tree-lined layout which took another beating from the men of the tour with 25 breaking par.
The three-year pro could’ve actually pulled away from the elite pack if not for his double-mishap on the par-4 15th. But what made his round impressive was that he gunned down those birdies in bunches – four straight each on both nines – with his 33-34 card giving him an 11-under 133 total and 36 holes away from nailing a breakthrough in a young pro career.
“I just stuck to what I did in the first round and my gameplan,” said Jahns, who hit eight birdies against a double-bogey Wednesday and gunned down eight again yesterday, including four straight from No. 4 and from No. 10. “Also, I’ve been hitting a lot of greens and making a lot of putts.”
But Hong, a two-time winner on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, is also in the hunt for another crown at 134 after the Cebuano ace turned what had been a mediocre start of 36 at the back with a fiery windup of 32, spiked by a three-birdie string from No. 2 and capped by two birdies in the last three holes that negated his unlikely bogey on the par-5 No. 6.
“The pins were placed in tough positions and that made it difficult to go for birdies,” said Hong, who flashed superb iron play that produced birdies inside six feet and more than made up for his wet bogey on No. 5 and a missed green miscue on the 17th.
Mondilla, chasing a second title after hitting paydirt at ICTSI Canlubang last year, matched Hong’s big frontside rebound in another flight, ramming in three straight birdies from No. 3 to turn in a 69 for a 135.
But if there’s one player looming large for the three pacesetters, it is Frankie Miñoza, who turned in a second straight four-under 68 to stay just three strokes off Jahns at 136. Unlike his 31-37 card Wednesday marred by two bogeys, the reticent Minoza came out of the round unscathed, hinting at a promising final 36 holes for the very player who won here when Luisita last hosted a pro championship in the 1989 President’s Cup.
A slew of players also kept the leaders within sight to ensure a wide-open battle for the top P360,000 purse in the event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. with Jhonnel Ababa, who missed the cut at ICTSI Anvaya last week, firing a 67 to tie Rolando Marabe, who carded a 70, at 137 and Tony Lascuña making his move with his own version of a 67 for a 138.
Engino proved to be the only erstwhile leading player to crack under pressure as he wavered with a 73 after a 66 and tumbled own to joint eight with Jay Bayron, trying to atone for his final round foldup at Anvaya, who shot a 70, Elmer Salvador, who turned in a 69, and Japanese Toru Nakajima and Yuta Sudo, who rallied with 67 and 68, respectively.
Forty two players made the cut pegged at 147 with Cassius Casas, winner of two tournaments last year, barely making it with a 72 after a 75 together with ICTSI Orchard Championship winner Rufino Bayron, who fought back with a 71 after a 76.
Miguel Tabuena threatened in the early going with three birdies in the first seven holes at the back. But the ICTSI Splendido leg winner fumbled with a bogey on the 18th and had a one-bogey, one-birdie stint at the front for a second 70 and a 140, seven shots off Jahns. Other four-under par scorers were Anthony Fernando and Marvin Dumandan, who shot identical 69s, and Ferdie Aunzo, who made a 71.(pr)