Category Archives: golf

SOLAIRE PHL OPEN: Mamat, Meesawat wrest control as Lewton fumbles

STA. ROSA, Laguna – Former champion Mardan Mamat of Singapore birdied the difficult backside par-3s of The Country Club in impressive fashion but fumbled on the daunting closing hole and dropped to joint lead with Thai Prom Meesawat at 70 at the start of the 100th Solaire Philippine Open at The Country Club here yesterday.
Englishman Steve Lewton actually kept it a three-way logjam in one stretch at the back in a separate flight but the defending champion wavered at the finish, bogeying two of the last six, including the 18th, to fall to joint third with Korean Taehoon Kim at 71.
The elite field struggled on the long layout that measures up to 7,735 yards despite the absence of the wind early on and majority floundered when the gusts started to whip up in afternoon play, sending the scores soaring and the players tumbling off the crowded leaderboard in the record $600,000 event presented by Solaire Resort and Casino.
But Mamat, 50, and Meesawat stood up to buck the challenge and seize control in a kind of start that could lead to a shootout in the next three days over a course where small mistakes could lead to big numbers.
“It’s very fortunate to play under-par in this course. It’s not easy out there but got a lucky break in some of the holes and made a couple of putts,’” said Mamat, a five-time winner in Asia, including the Phl Open at Wack Wack in 2012, and the Singapore Masters in 2006 that also served as a European Tour event.
He used a 3-wood on the 276-yard No. 11 and banged in an 11-foot putt then hacked a 9-iron to within two feet and drilled it. But he missed grabbing the solo lead with a closing bogey after missing the green and a bad chip, enabling Meesawat, who had two victories in Asia, including a playoff win over Miguel Tabuena in 2016 in Taiwan, to get a shared view of the top.
The Thai veteran banked on a three-birdie string from No. 8 to put himself in early contention for the top $108,000 purse in the 72-hole championship organized by the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Lewton, who nipped absentee American Johannes Veerman in a playoff here last year, looked headed to taking up from where he left off – putting up a three-under card after 12 holes. But he bogeyed No. 13 then dropped another stroke on the tough par-4 closing hole.
Jay Bayron thought he had all figured out the Tom Weiskoph-designed course with a three-under card after eight holes, sparking hopes for a big start for a local player who missed the Open title by one in 2011 at Wack Wack. But he bogeyed the long par-4 No. 9 and though he recovered the stroke with a birdie on the par-5 10th, the veteran Davaoeño campaigner reeled back with three straight bogeys from No. 11 then traded two birdies with the same number of bogeys in the last five holes to finish with a 72.
Other even par scorers were Malaysians Bin Jailani Amir Nazrin, Leun Kwang Kim and Nicholas Fung, Aussie David Gleeson and Alvaro Arizabaleta of Colombia,
Miguel Tabuena, winner in the rain-shortened Open at Luisita in 2015, eagled the 10th but bogeyed two of the next five and slipped to joint 11th at 73, including American Nicolas Paez, Dutch Guido Van der Valk and multi-titled Tony Lascuña, Gerald Rosales, champion of the all-peso Open in 2000, and Lloyd Go, who topped the PGT Q-School recent at Splendido.
A slew of others also turned in impressive starts, only to stumble on the terrors that lurked on the bunkers, roughs and greens of the dreaded layout with the winds coming into play late in the day.  Lascuña had a one-under card with six holes to play but dropped three strokes on the tight par-4 No. 4 and dropped to 73 after a birdie on No. 8 while Go blew a two-under card after seven holes at the back as he bogeyed four of the next seven, needing to birdie the par-5 eighth to save a 73.
Two weeks after edging Tabuena with a five-under overcall card to claim the TCC Invitational crown, Micah Shin found the layout not to his liking this time, tripping with a two double-bogey-marred 40 start at the back. He birdied No. 3 but bogeyed the next three and ended up with a 78.
At joint 63rd, the 21-year-old Korean-American is barely in the 65-player plus tie cut line unlike a host of other pre-tournament favorites in the event sponsored by ICTSI, Meralco, PLDT, Smart, Bulgari, Diamond Motor Corp., BDO, Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Amon Trading, Dynamic Sports and Custom Clubmakers.
Jhonnel Ababa, one of the hottest local players with back-to-back victories on the PGT Asia last January, gunned down three birdies but fumbled with five bogeys, including three in a five-hole stretch from No. 11. He wound up with a 74 and tumbled to joint 16th with Jerson Balasabas, Rico Depilo, American John Kelly, England’s Matt Killen and Kwang Leun Kim of Malaysia.
Angelo Que, a former Open winner who won three titles here at TCC Invitational, failed to recover from an OB mishap on No. 4 as he limped with three more bogeys against two bogeys for a 75, six shots behind the leader in a tie with 12 others.
Clyde Mondilla, the reigning PGT Order of Merit winner, shot himself in the foot with a fat 80 marred by seven bogeys and a double bogey against a lone birdie while two-time champion Frankie Miñoza virtually bowed out with an unlikely 87 marred by two double bogeys, one quadruple bogey and seven bogeys in a birdie-less round.(pr)

71st PAL Interclub fires off in Bacolod on March 1

71st PAL Interclub fires off in Bacolod on March 1

BACOLOD – Marapara and Binitin, old layouts here that vary very much in character but offer the same stern tests of golf, will host the 71st edition of the PAL Senior’s and Men’s Regular Interclub championships starting March 1.

Now known as the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club and the Bacolod Golf and Country Club, respectively, these two courses will take centerstage as Luisita and Manila Southwoods shoot to extend their respective reigns in the Senior’s and Men’s divisions of the country’s unofficial team golf championship.

And unlike in the past, the Men’s championship will see a Sunday ending this year as tournament organizers have decided to give the field three official practice rounds leading to the opening skirmishes on March 8.

Jaime J. Bautista, the indefatigable president of the country’s flag carrier, is expected to hit the ceremonial drive and signal the start of Senior play on Feb. 26, Monday, at Marapara.

Canlubang is again listed as the chief threat to Luisita even if the multi-titled Tommy Manotoc is again expected to miss play owing to some family commitments in the United States.

The Senior field will also have three days to sample both courses, though early reports have it that the Luisitans have already come over to test both layouts and not leave anything to chance.

Southwoods will come into the event as the heavy favorite, more so because Japanese teenager Yuto Katsuragawa has confirmed that he will return to play for the Carmona-based squad.(pr)

Team SEA, Phl begin Pradera Ladies 2

LUBAO, Pampanga – Yuka Saso hopes to cap a brilliant two-week display of individual skills with a victory in team play as the Philippines seeks to equalize against Team Southeast Asia in the Pradera Verde Ladies Challenge 2 firing off on Monday, Jan. 15 at the Pradera Golf and Country Club here.
Saso bolstered the hosts’ chances in the novel event by winning a pro tournament and the Philippine Ladies Open the last two weeks with the Fil-Japanese shotmaker brimming with confidence as she leads the team out to avenge a lopsided defeat in last year’s inaugurals of the three-day championship.
“The battle cry is to win the championship. We will give them a very good fight given the depth of the team this year,” said Norman Sto. Domingo, one of Team Phl’s skippers who include Rolly Romero and Daisy Reyes. “We have beefed up our lineup and I’m hoping the girls all play 100 percent in all three days.”
But the visiting squad, led by the top players from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, also toughened up its roster to underscore its readiness to duplicate its imposing 19 1/2-10 1/2 romp in the first Pradera Ladies Challenge pitting the country’s leading jungolfers and amateurs against the top players from the neighboring SEA countries.
“Of course, our goal is to retain the crown. We also have new players and we hope they will blend in well with those who played last year,” said Team SEA co-captain Phunampa Pornperapan of Thailand, the other being Jantsonn Kan of Malaysia.
That should guarantee a fierce but friendly duel right in the opening Scramble format in the morning among five teams before play shifts to alternate shot in the afternoon. The two sides will play best ball tomorrow (Tuesday) then back to alternate shot format in the afternoon while the deciding singles (10 matches) will be held Wednesday with the team to score 15.5 points winning the perpetual Pradera Verde Ladies trophy.
Saso didn’t see action last year but with her current form, the 16-year-old star is expected to provide the firepower and spunk to a team composed of PLO runner-up Mikha Fortuna, Harmie Constantino, Nicole Abelar, Tomi Arejola, Sofia Chabon, Bernice Olivarez-Ilas, Kristine Torralba, Kayla Nocum and 13-year-olds Annyka Cayabyab and Laurea Duque.
But Team SEA is upbeat and all primed up for a repeat in the Ryder Cup-style format event, a brainchild of Archen Cayabyab, Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab and Sto. Domingo as part of their effort to help boost the country’s junior and amateur golf program and at the same time foster camaraderie and friendship with the neighboring SEA countries.
“We’re optimistic of our chances. Though Onkanok (Soisuwan) is the only holdover from the Thai group plus two youngsters, our team is keen for competition and we are quite positive of our chances to be champion again,” said Kan.
Soisuwan will be joined by compatriots Kultida Pramphun and Pinkaew Trachentong with Indonesian Michela Tjan and 13-year-olds Pimkwan Chookaew and Phannarai Meesom-us of Thailand and Singapore’s Shannon Tan backstopping the squad that also includes three Malaysian players in Ashley Lau, Audrey Tan and Zulaikah Nurzian with veteran Winnie Ng providing the experience and leadership.(pr)

LPGT kicks off 6th season at Ayala Greenfield

The Ladies Philippine Golf Tour launches its new season on Wednesday (Jan. 3) with a stellar field headed by the cream of the country’s pro crop and a number of Thailand aces bracing for a spirited battle for top honors in the ICTSI Ayala Greenfield Ladies Challenge in Calamba, Laguna.

Symetra Tour campaigners Dottie Ardina, Cyna Rodriguez and Princess Superal hope to come out strong coming off a failed bid at South Forbes two weeks ago which the Thais dominated via a 1-2 finish to sweep the last two legs of the 2017 LPGT season.

But the locals are all primed to open the sixth season of the country’s premier ladies circuit sponsored by ICTSI on a winning note with last year’s LPGT Order of Merit winner Pauline del Rosario also raring to rebound from a mediocre showing at South Forbes.

Del Rosario racked up four victories in her rookie campaign in the record 11-leg circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. but struggled with poor health and form in the last tournament, ending up 10th.

But the 19-year-old rising star is expected to have recovered, ready to slug it out with her fellow fancied Filipinas and a slew of Thais out to extend their domination of the tour backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.

They include former LPGT leg winners Saruttaya Ngam-usawan and Wannasiri Sirisampant with Chonlada Chayanun also eyeing her first win after turning in back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Philippine Ladies Masters and South Forbes.

Others in the Thai fold are Numa Gulyanamitta, Pakpring Duangchan, Chitawadee Duangchan, Hathaikarn Wongwaikijphaisal, Jaruporn P Na Ayuttaya, Ploychompoo Wilairungrueng, Punpaka Phuntumabamrung, Saraporn Chamchoi, Sarinee Thitiratanakorn, Supakchaya Pattaranakrueng, Thanuttra Boonraksasat and Tiranan Yoopan.

Meanwhile, Ayala Greenfield has been spruced up in time for its first hosting of an LPGT tournament with the par-72 layout expected to provide a different kind of challenge for the competing field especially in the presence of the wind.

Others vying in the 54-hole championship are former leg champions Chihiro Ikeda and Sarah Ababa along with Anya Tanpinco, Apple Fudolin, last year’s Luisita stage champion Euna Koh of Korea and South African Madeleen Grosskoph.(pr)

ICTSI Orchard unwraps; Lascuña upbeat

DASMARINAS, Cavite – Tony Lascuña hopes to rebound from a failed bid at Luisita and ride the momentum of a pro-am victory as he heads the local charge against an elite foreign cast in the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship reeling off today (Wednesday, May 10) at the Orchard’s Player course here.
“This is a big morale boost but I still have to play quality golf in the next four days. The field is strong and anything can happen here at Orchard,” said Lascuña, who ruled Monday’s pro-am tournament of the $60,000 event put up by ICTSI with amateur partners John Laurel, Juanchit Jose and Siegfried Ramos.
The foursome pooled a 17-under 55 to nip 2014 Orchard Championship winner Rufino Bayron, Arnel Paras, Paul Griba and David Astejada, who assembled a 56, while Michael Bibat, Alex Dy, Amy Dy and Bien Cerbo placed third with a 57.
Lascuña, the reigning Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner, actually moved within one of Micah Shin halfway through the Luisita Championship last week but closed out with a pair of 71s to settle for joint fourth with Jhonnel Ababa and American Brett Munson.
He rued his poor putting in the last two rounds but the veteran campaigner vowed to make up for the slack in this week’s event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. which offers a top purse of $10,500.
“I’m ready and I feel good now with my stroke. I just hope it will click in all four days,” said Lascuña, who drew Bayron and last week’s playoff loser Mathiam Keyser of South Africa in the 7:45 a.m. flight on No. 1.
Keyser, who lost to absentee Miguel Tabuena in sudden death in Tarlac, also vowed to complete an unfinished business with a triumphant campaign here, along with a slew of foreign aces, including Solaire Philippine Open champion Steve Lewton, John Catlin, Nicolas Paez and John Michael O’Toole of the US and Korean Park Jun Sung.
Keanu Jahns, who rallied with a solid, eagle-aided 65 to snare solo third at Luisita, is also expected to figure prominently along with fellow locals Ababa, Mars Pucay, Frankie Miñoza, Mhark Fernando, Gerald Rosales, Cassius Casas, Jay Bayron, Rufino Bayron and Elmer Salvador.
After missing the action last week, the crack Thai group is back on the local circuit, all gunning for a crack at the crown, led by Panulat Muenlek, Nitithorn Thippong, Kasidit Lepkurte, Donlapachai Niyomchon, Natthapong Niyomchon, Annop Tangkamolprasert, Poosit Supuramai and veteran Wisut Arjanawat.
Former Singapore amateur hotshot Choo Tze-Huang is also in the hunt along with Aussies Jason Dawes, Finland’s Janne Kaske, Dutch Guido Van der Valk and Swede Oskar Arvidson.
The event drew a total of 120 players, one of the biggest and strongest on the local circuit backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.
It also serves as the second of a four-week PGT swing with Southwoods hosting the next stop on May 17-20 for another $60,000 ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship before the revival of the P2 million ICTSI Philippine Masters at the Villamor Golf Club on May 24-27.(pr)

Saso, Corpus take charge in Phl Junior Open

Yuka Saso checked a rollercoaster backside start with an eagle-spiked windup at the front, firing a four-under 68 to seize a three-stroke lead over Junia Gabasa while Carl Corpus took control of the boys’ field at the start of the Philippine Junior Amateur Open Golf Championships at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martirez, Cavite yesterday.
Saso bounced back from a bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie stint with three birdies and an eagle against one more bogey in the next 14 holes as she put her title-retention bid in motion while firming up her spot in this year’s SEA Games squad, this being the last part of a three-stage selection process for spots in the national team for the biennial event in Malaysia in August.
The reigning national champion, also the World Junior Girls gold medalist in Canada last year, highlighted her 33-35 card with a solid drive on the par-5 No. 8 and nearly holed in an albatross off a superb 9-iron second shot from 150 yards that stopped inches off the cup.
Gabasa trailed Saso by one at the turn but the Cebuana bet grabbed the lead with a birdie-birdie feat from No. 1, only to fumble with bogeys on Nos. 3 and 5 before ramming in another birdie on the par-3 sixth to string a 35-36 and a 71 for second.
Harmie Constantino, winner of the WExpress RVF Cup crown, the second national elims, last February, mixed three birdies with four bogeys for third at 73 while Kristine Torralba carded a 74 and Kayla Nocum shot a 76 and Nicole Abelar and Korean Yang Ju Young each made a 78 in the event also serving as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Corpus, the NGAP Doubles winner last year with Yuto Katsuragawa, birdied the last hole to card a 71 and grab a two-stroke lead over Carlo Gatmaytan, who turned in a 73, while defending champion Kim Joo Hyung of Korea struggled in the heat and wind and hobbled with a 74, the same output put in by Ryan Monsalve.
Perry Bucay shot a 75 while Paolo Wong and Weiwei Gao made a pair of 76s to stay in contention in the 72-hole championship backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific Investment.
Meanwhile, former national champion Rupert Zaragosa groped with a 75 but still led the Special Division (18-and-above), two clear of Dan Cruz, who had a 77, while Lizbeth Alcantara seized control in the girls’ side with an 83, seven shots clear off Annika Guangko, who skied to 90.
Miguel Ilas shot an 81 and took a two-stroke lead over Francis Lanuza, who had an 83, in the 13-and-below section with Grace Quintanilla carding an 81 to post a 10-shot lead over Daniella Gatti, who struggled with a 91.

Muangkhumsakul rallies, snares Champion Tour crown

TAGAYTAY – Thai Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul charged back from three shots down at the back with a blazing eagle-spiked windup, closing out with a 69 to foil local bet Pauline del Rosario and compatriot Titiya Plucksataporn and capture the ICTSI Champion Tour at Splendido crown by two here yesterday.
Muangkhumsakul eagled No. 10 of Splendido Taal Golf Club and birdied two of the last four holes to sneak from third-to-last flight to the top of the heap at 215 as erstwhile leader Plucksataporn wavered with a 74 and Del Rosario fell short of her own comeback bid with a 68 for 217s.
“I played relatively good. Everything was in place and I’m happy I finally made it,” said Muangkhumsakul, who led in the first round with a 69 but tumbled down with a horrendous 77 in windy Thursday.
But the 18-year-old shotmaker from Bangkok, a consistent Top 5 finisher but never a winner on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf, struck back hard in the last nine holes, her solid four-under 32 netting her the elusive crown worth $15,000, the replica of the check she received from STGC general manager Teboy Javier.
Plucksataporn, who held a two-stroke lead after 36 holes with a gutsy 71, hung tough despite Muangkhumsakul’s eagle on No. 10 with a birdie on the par-5 hole. But she fumbled with bogeys on the next, gave up another stroke on No. 14 and dropped off the lead.
Del Rosario, six behind Plucksataporn at the start of the final round after a disastrous 78 in the second day, mounted a fierce rally in an earlier flight with an eagle on No. 2 then came through with birdies on Nos. 14 and 16 to pull within one of Plucksataporn and Muangkhumsakul, raising hopes for a local victory in the event sponsored by Champion after erstwhile contenders Mia Piccio and Cyna Rodriguez faded one after the other.
But while Plucksataporn cracked under pressure, Muangkhumsakul held sway with clutch birdies, including on the par-3 17th from six feet that gave her a two-shot cushion and all but quashed Del Rosario’s crack for a playoff.
“If not for my 78 in the second round, I could’ve vied for the crown,” rued Del Rosario.
Still, the joint runner-up effort augured well for the rookie pro, who shared the combined $12,000 prize with Plucksataporn. She later vowed to do better when the next ICTSI LPGT leg, also part of the Taiwan LPGA and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., is held next Wednesday (March 15) at Mt. Malarayat.
The locals actually pinned their hopes on Symetra Tour campaigners Piccio and Rodriguez, who moved within two off Plucksataporn after 36 holes. But the former bowed out with a bogey and double bogey on Nos. 7 and 9, respectively, and the latter wilted with a bogey-marred backside 41.
Piccio ended up with a second 75 for joint fifth at 220 with Thai Narisara Kerdrit, who shot a 71, behind fourth placer Korean Kang Ji-won, who matched par 72 for the second straight day for a 219.
“I didn’t get the breaks and missed a lot of putts. Maybe this tournament was not meant for me,” said Piccio, who lost by one to Korean Lee Jeong-hwa here last year.
Yuka Saso took the top amateur honors with a 74 as she finished tied for seventh with Taiwanese Yeh Hsin-ning, who hobbled with a 75, while Taiwanese Lin Tzu-chi fired a 70 and tied Thais Thanuutra Boonraksasat (71) and Punpaka Phuntumabamrung (74) and compatriot Lee Hsin (76) at ninth at 222.
Rodriguez, who had dominated the first three editions of the LPGT backed by ICTSI, BDO, Champion, Custom Clubmakers, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Titleist and Event Captain, limped with a 78 and wound up tied with Thai Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro (75) at 223.
Princess Superal made a second 74 for a 225 at joint 19th while Dottie Ardina ended up tied at 33rd after a 74 for a 232.