Juvic routs field, cops Aboitiz crown by 8

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Juvic Pagunan receives his trophy and replica of his cheque worth $17,500 from Aboitiz Corporate Marketing Communications manager Victoria Vicente after ruling the 2015 Aboitiz Invitational via an emphatic 8-shot romp at Southwoods’ Legends course.(pr)



Juvic Pagunsan stamped his class over Pijit Petchkasem and Angelo Que with an early burst of birdies, turning what was expected to be a wild finish into a runaway eight-shot romp in the Aboitiz Invitational at Southwoods’ Legends course here yesterday.
Tied with the Thai ace and one up on the three-time Asian Tour winner after 54 holes, Pagunsan needed just four pars to seize control in the early going then flashed his vaunted shotmaking and iron game to fire four birdies in the next five holes which Petchkasem and Que failed to match to virtually settle the outcome.
He wound up with a six-under 65, another bogey-free round that has marked his solid start in the $100,000 event sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, for a 72-hole aggregate of 20-under 264.
“It’s a nice win. I was able to string up a good game this week,” said Pagunsan, who pocketed the top $17,500 purse for his maiden victory on the Asian Development Tour, a farm league of the Asian Tour, which he dominated in 2011 by winning the coveted Order of Merit title.
It was also Pagunsan’s first victory on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, which he was forced to skip the last two-and-a-half years after being sacked by the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. for abandoning a tournament without prior notice.
As a former Asian Tour OOM winner, Pagunsan gained a card in the lucrative Japan PGA Tour which he made as base during his suspension that saw him post seven top 10 finishes, including a runner-up finish in Mizuno Open last year.
More importantly, the Japan stint further honed his talent and skills, which he put in full display in all four days this week, spiked by a bogey-less nine-under 62 in the second round that put him in the lead of a tightly-fought championship co-organized by ADT and PGTI.
“I’m going back to Japan to play two more tournaments and might join the PGT leg at Wack Wack next month,” said Pagunsan, who preserved his flawless round with a chip-in par from 15 yards on the par-3 No. 12 after dumping his tee shot into the greenside bunker.
Petchkasem actually bested Pagunsan’s brilliant 36-hole performance with a third straight bogey-free round Friday that gained him a share of the lead. But the 28-year-old Thai succumbed early in a pressure-packed finale, stumbling with his first bogey on No. 2 and went on a roller-coaster ride the rest of the way.
After firing a 12-under aggregate at the front in the first three days, Petchkasem fumbled with a 38 and struggled to the finish, needing to birdie the 18th to salvage a 73 and a share of second with Que, who missed clinching solo runner-up with a bogey on the par-5 17th for a 72, and another Thai Nirun Sae-Ueng, who rallied with two birdies in the last four holes to shoot a 67 for 270s. Each got $8,033.
“I struggled with my iron game, either I came up short or overshot the green,” rued Que, who three-putted No. 17 and scrambled for par on the last hole to salvage a share of second.
Aussie Paul Donahoo gunned down four birdies in the first eight holes but tripped with a bogey and a double bogey against two birdies for a 68, dropping to a share of fifth at 271 with Zanieboy Gialon, who also carded a 68, Clyde Mondilla and Japanese Masaru Takahashi, who closed out with identical 70s. Each received $3,450.
Last year’s champion Tony Lascuña failed to sustain sizzling 31 start and settled for just one birdie at the back for a bogey-free 65, forcing a tie for ninth at 272 with Jay Bayron, who made a 69, and Americans Blake Snyder and Greg Moss, who carded a 68 and 72, respectively. Each pocketed $2,000.
After an opening 32, Pagunsan sat on a six-shot cushion as Que fumbled with a 37 and Petchkasem hobbled with 38. The backside proved to be a victory ride for the smooth-swinging former PGT OOM champion, who spiked his third bogey-less round with birdies on Nos. 13 and 15 and a couple of scrambling pars.
Flawless after 54 holes, Petchkasem parred the opening hole but cracked under pressure after missing the green on No. 2 and making his first bogey. He struck back with a birdie on the next but dropped another shot on No. 4 and reeled farther back with a double-bogey on the par-3 seventh after another birdie on the sixth and never recovered en route to a 73.
So did Que, who was expected to engage Pagunsan in a shootout on a course he calls home. But like Petchkasem, he bogeyed the second hole, birdied the next but dropped two shots on No. 4 on an errant approach shot.
Que did fight back with birdies on No. 9 and 12 but missed a couple of birdie chances and three-putted the 17th to fall to joint second with a 72.(pr)
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Toughest cast assembled for Aboitiz Invit’l

pagunsan
Pagunsan.
que
Que.
Lascuna.
Lascuna.
tabuena
Tabuena.

From current Order of Merit leader Miguel Tabuena to fellow two-leg winner Angelo Que to the comebacking Frankie Miñoza and Juvic Pagunsan to the in-form Tony Lascuña to a host of other local aces and rising stars, all are accounted for in the Aboitiz Invitational firing off Wednesday, Aug. 5 at Manila Southwoods’ Legends course.
Count in the top 10 players in the Asian Development Tour OOM rankings, and no fewer than 22 ADT winners and other notable shotmakers from around the region, one gets an idea of what looms ahead when the first shot is hit and the last putt is made in the $100,000 event put up by Aboitiz Equity Ventures.
No local event in recent past has put together a deep, talent-laden international cast, guaranteeing a highly charged duel for the top $17,500 purse and world ranking points in all four days of competition co-sanctioned by the ADT and the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
“Just looking at the roster makes one feel uncomfortable. It’s such a tough cast that one has to play his very best to at least contend,” said Lascuña, listed as one of the favorites not only because of his back-to-back victories at ICTSI Apo and ICTSI Classic in recent weeks but also because of his three-shot romp over Que in last year’s edition of the annual event at Riviera’s Couples course for his first ADT win.
But the long, bunker-laden Legends layout offers a different kind of challenge for the competing field particularly its last line of defense – the greens, which are expected to be at their meanest in the final round of the blue-ribbon event co-organized by ADT and Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“I may be on some kind of a roll, winning the last two tournaments. But for sure, it will be anybody’s race,” said Lascuña.
It sure will.
Tabuena, for one, is coming in fresh after a hectic campaign that netted him victories at ICTSI Splendido and Rancho Palos Verdes and three runner-up finishes while three-time Asian Tour winner Que is back from a recent European Masters campaign in pursuit of a follow-up to his victories at ICTSI Manla Masters and Anvaya Cove Invitational and an eye for a breakthrough ADT win.
Minoza is also coming off a stint in Japan and has always been a sentimental favorite and contender on the local circuit this season with a series of top six finishes while Pagunsan is out to redeem himself from a mediocre joint 15th place finish in last week’s ICTSI Classic where he marked his return on local turf after a two-and-a-half campaign on the Japan PGA.
Elmer Salvador, Orlan Sumcad, Jay Bayron, Ferdie Aunzo, Charles Hong, Cassius Casas, Rufino Bayron, Marvin Dumandan and Mars Pucay are also in the fold, all ready to slug it out not only with the cream of the local crop but also the best from the ADT field.
That includes OOM leader Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei, American Casey O’Toole, Malaysian Arie Irawan, Aussie Jake Stirling, Taiwanese Chan Shih-chang, Sean Riordan of New Zealand, Japanese Masaru Takahashi, Jordan Sherbat of Australia, Davao-based American Micah Shin and Thai Itthipat Buranatanyarat.
Hsieh is tipped to contend owing to his good form this season where he nailed one victory and produced five top 10 finishes.
“My aim is to finish inside Top 10. That is the target that I set for myself in every ADT event,” said Hsieh, who finished sixth in the ADT Sherwood Hills Classic last April.
“It’s good to be leading in the OOM rankings but I won’t give myself any pressure to win or play exceptionally well. I will play with minimal expectations,” said Hsieh, 24.(pr)

Dabawenyo outclasses field, rules ICTSI Classic

Tony Lascuña hoists his trophy after dominating the field to win the ICTSI Classic by six.(pr)
Tony Lascuña, with son Antonio III, holds his trophy as he poses with (from left) Mt. Malarayat GCC managing director Cristina Torralba and ICTSI Public Relations head Narlene Soriano.(pr)

LIPA, Batangas – Dabawenyo Tony Lascuña chalked up another win on a scorching finish at Mt. Malipunyo, closing out with a solid 32 for a six-under 66 and beating Clyde Mondilla, Jay Bayron and Robert Pactolerin by six to capture the ICTSI Classic crown at Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
Unlike in his come-from-behind one-shot win over Miguel Tabuena at ICTSI Apo three weeks ago, however, Lascuña turned a shaky overnight one-shot lead into a runaway triumph as erstwhile rivals Pactolerin and Arnold Villacencio succumbed to final round pressure and faded out early.
“It’s nice to win again and nicer to be able to post a runaway victory unlike the last time out when I had to rally to beat a solid player in Miguel,” said Lascuña, who pulled away by four over Pactolerin with a 34 start at Mt. Lubo then turned the tougher backside into a virtual playground with four birdies, including a pitch-in feat from 25 yards on No. 14.
He wound up with a 15-under 273, completing a run of under-par rounds that included a 69, 70 and 68 and pocketing another P270,000 that shoved him past absentee Angelo Que for No. 2 in the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit ranking and closer to Tabuena (P1,795,256), who also skipped the event, with a P1,724,060.
Three flights ahead, Mondilla holed out with four straight birdies to fire a five-under 67 and tie Bayron, who shot a 70, and Pactolerin, who birdied the last two holes to salvage a 71, at 279. They split the combined PP375,000 prize in this 10th leg of the circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
Elmer Salvador also fought back with a 67 to share fifth place with Orlan Sumcad, who carded a 68, Albin Engino, who hobbled with a 73, and top amateur Jobim Carlos, who turned in a 71, at 282 while Rey Pagunsan likewise put in a 67 to finish solo ninth at 283.
Anthony Fernando and Jhonnel Ababa each shot a 70 for joint 10th at 284 while Villacencio, the first round leader who moved within one after 54 holes of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., lost his focus, limped home with a 77 and tumbled to 12th at 285.
In contrast, Lascuña was in his elements all day, splitting the fairways with consistency and settling up birdie chances from close range with solid iron game and converting them with steady putting.
“I really didn’t stop training until I got my game – swing and putting – back,” said Lascuña, who racked up five victories last year to keep the OOM crown for the third straight season but went on a winless run in this year’s first nine legs.
He also played an inspired game all-day in the presence of his family in the gallery, led by wife Cheryl Alferez and kids Antonette and Antonio III, who joined him at the podium during awards rites.
“They’re my lucky charm,” said Lascuña, who also thanked his long-time backers Srixon balls, ICTSI and Ping irons through Joey Mendoza.
With two wins in row, Lascuña has suddenly put himself on track to duplicating his last year’s five-title feat with another crack at the championship looming in this week’s Aboitiz Invitational at Manila Southwoods, which he ruled by three shots over Que at Riviera last year.
“I’m confident of my chances but I know it will be tough with a lot of foreign players joining the hunt next week,” said Lascuña, bracing for a tougher challenge that will include Que and Tabuena plus the top 10 players in the Asian Develop Tour OOM ranking.
Other backers of the event were Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Callaway, Srixon, Mizuno, TaylorMade, Nike Golf, Sharp, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Rudy Project, Pacsports, Omnisource, Cleveland Golf, KZG, FootJoy, Silicon, Empire and Great Depot.(pr)

Borlain, Baniqued dominate IronKids

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Participants in the record-breaking Alaska IronKids plunge into the swim leg of their side of the triathlon competitions at Shangri La Mactan in Cebu yesterday.(pr)
LAPU-LAPU CITY – The top guns, led by Tara Borlain and Juan Francisco Baniqued, played true to form and led the march of winners in the record-breaking Alaska IronKids Triathlon II yesterday at Mactan’s Shangri-la Hotel and Resort.
Borlain and Baniqued, who won the first three races in the Alaska IronKids series this year, continued their winning ways with dominating performances in the 11-12 play of the event that featured an all-time high of 189 participants.
Borlain covered the 300m swim-9K bike-2K run race in 34:24.0 as she beat Catherine Angeli Yu (35.54.1) and Raven Faith Alcoseba (37.07.8) for the plum, completing an undefeated run in the 2015 IronKids’ triathlon and aquathlon events.
Baniqued similarly went four-for-four for the year as he submitted a winning 33.54.7, nearly three minutes ahead of runner-up Bernard Miguel Sy (36.31.6) and third placer Victor Andrew Boherom (36.33.2).
Equally impressive were Nicole Danielle Eijansantos, who parried the challenge of Tara’s elder sister Samantha in the girls’ 13-14, and Yuan Chiongbian, who made his fellow Cebuanos proud by going back-to-back in the boys’ side.
Rounding up the honor roll in the race organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. and sponsored by Alaska Milk were Justin Christopher Yu (27:43.4) and Lorayne Lencioco (27:09.5) in the 9-10 category, and Michael Gabriel Lozada (18:03.2) and Ma. Chelsea Faith Minoza (18:20.6) in the 6-8 division.
“I feel so happy. All the hardwork I’ve done paid off. I’m so proud of my siblings too,” said Tara, whose ate Samantha won silver in the 13-14 and little sister Franchezka took the bronze in the 6-8 play.
Tara emerged victorious in Mactan again after settling for silver behind Samantha last year. She previously ruled her bracket in 2012.
Baniqued, for his part, led from start to finish to repeat as champ here.
“I met new competition (in this race) and it was challenging. But I was confident as I prepared hard for this,” said Baniqued from Binan, Laguna.
Chiongbian made sure it will be a good day for Cebu as he posted a fast 42:50.7 in the 400m swim, 12K bike, 3K run race to cop the crown at the expense of Lucian Antonio Alejo (45:51.4) and John Caleb Barlin (45:53.3).
Eijansantos checked in at 47:02.1 to retain the crown over Samantha (49:52.6) and Sam McInnes (50.05.6).
The podium finishers received their trophies from Sunrise president Fred Uytengsu with elite pros helping out.(pr)

Ironman picks Cebu as 2016 Asia-Pacific triathlon

The Ironman yesterday named Cebu as host of next year’s Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship Triathlon, marking the first time that the country will be hosting the prestigious swim-bike-run event.
“It’s an exciting time for the sport of triathlon in Asia-Pacific.With our ongoing expansion in Asia that includes 14 Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events combined with tens of thousands of athletes living and competing in the region, it’s the right time to host a championship race here,” said Geoff Meyer, chief executive officer for Ironman Asia-Pacific.
The selection of Cebu City as host only underscores the impressive staging of the Ironman 70.3 Philippines the last five years that has been luring the top triathletes in the world.
“Cebu has hosted the successful Ironman 70.3 Philippines triathlon for the past five years – and will provide our athletes a beautiful and challenging championship course,” added Meyer.
As a result of the substantial growth of triathlon and the Ironman brand in the Southern Hemisphere, Ironman will begin an annual rotation the of Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship throughout the Asia-Pacific region starting with Ironman 70.3 Philippines, Cebu.
The awarding of the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship to Ironman 70.3 Philippines, Cebu continues Ironman’s long-standing partnership with Sunrise Events, Inc., the Philippines’s leading sporting event company, which operates Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay, 5150 Subic Bay, and 5150 Bohol.
Wilfred “Fred” Steven Uytengsu Jr., president and chairman of Sunrise Events, expressed his excitement at Ironman 70.3 Philippines, Cebu hosting next year’s Asia Pacific Championship.
“We are extremely proud to have been selected as the host for the 2016 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship,” said Uytengsu. “We intend to stage our best event yet which will coincide with our five-year anniversary in Cebu and our eighth year in partnership with Ironman. We look forward to welcoming everyone with our trademark Filipino hospitality.”
The locations for the 2017 and 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship will be announced soon.
The 2016 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship will offer US$75,000 professional prize purse and 30 age-group qualifying slots for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
For details, visit www.ironman.com/philippines70.3 while for media related inquiries, email daniel.hoy@ironman.com.(pr)

Beijing named host city of Olympic Winter Games 2022

Beijing named host city of Olympic Winter Games 2022

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today named Beijing, People’s Republic of China, as the host city of the Olympic Winter Games 2022.

The Chinese capital was chosen over Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a vote at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur. Beijing received 44 votes to Almaty’s 40.

As a result, Beijing will become the first city to host both a summer and winter edition of the Olympic Games, following the city’s successful staging of the Summer Games in 2008.

Right after the election, representatives of Beijing together with IOC President Thomas Bach signed the Host City Contract (HCC), which is available here. This is the first time that the HCC is being made public, which is a result of the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020 – a reform package that significantly changed the host city selection process.  

Beijing aims to use the Games to accelerate the development of a new sport, culture and tourism area, and to encourage interest in winter sports in a region that is home to more than 300 million people in northern China.

Although the bid process for 2022 began before the approval of Olympic Agenda 2020, the reforms have already had a significant impact on Beijing’s Olympic plans. Olympic Agenda 2020 calls for a stronger focus on sustainability, legacy, and transparency, while making it easier for host cities to tailor Games that meet their needs rather than trying to fit a template.

Beijing took advantage of the flexibility provided by Olympic Agenda 2020 to improve its plans for the Games and reduce costs. The city will rely heavily on existing venues, including those built for the Games in 2008, such as the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium.

Beijing’s proposed budget for investment in Olympic villages, sports venues and other infrastructure totals 1.5 billion US dollars – significantly less than for Olympic Games in the past. The proposed operational budget should be fully offset by revenue from ticket sales, marketing sponsorships and other income. Thanks to an additional contribution from the IOC of approximately 880 million US dollars to support the staging of the Olympic Winter Games in 2022, Beijing is confident that it will either break even or make a profit.

In addition, post-Games legacy uses for all permanent venues have already been identified to ensure that Games-related investments deliver benefits for years to come.(pr)

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The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.25 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

Lausanne named Winter Youth Olympic Games host for 2020

Lausanne named Winter Youth Olympic Games host for 2020

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today named Lausanne, Switzerland, as the host city of the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2020.

Lausanne, home to the IOC headquarters since 1915 and known as the Olympic Capital, was chosen over Brasov, Romania, during a vote at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur, with 71 votes to Brasov’s 10.

In line with Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, approved last December, the Evaluation Commission for the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2020 focused its assessment of the two Candidate Cities for the first time on the key opportunities and risks associated with both bids and a focus on the athletes’ experience. The Commission, chaired by IOC Member in China Yang Yang, noted that both Lausanne and Brasov were capable of organising the Games. Lausanne was praised in particular for its good use of existing, temporary and demountable venues, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020 sustainability reforms.

Lausanne 2020 organisers have proposed 10 to 19 January 2020 as the dates for the Games. Over 1,000 athletes ranging in age from 15 to 18 are expected to compete at the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2020. Both YOG Candidate Cities were informed that a review of sports, disciplines and events will take place after the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games, due to be held in Lillehammer, Norway, in February 2016, and that the overall list of events would be completed approximately three years ahead of the Youth Olympic Games 2020.

President Bach will establish a Coordination Commission to assist Lausanne 2020 throughout its preparation period.

The Youth Olympic Games are about competing, learning and sharing. They are a celebration of sport, youth, diversity and the Olympic values. They also exemplify the fundamental principle of Olympism to blend sport with culture and education. At the heart of the learn-and-share approach, a set of unique activities endeavours to equip the young athletes with sport and life skills; propose an innovative and powerful introduction to Olympism; and inspire participants to become ambassadors of the Olympic values.

The 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games were held in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012. The 2nd edition is scheduled to take place from 12 to 21 February 2016 in Lillehammer, Norway.

For more information on the Youth Olympic Games, please visit: www.olympic.org/yog.(pr)

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The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.25 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.