GEN. TRIAS, Cavite – Pro-bound Jobim Carlos took the one that mattered most in amateur play – the Philippine Amateur Stroke Play Championship – as he outgunned Rupert Zaragosa in a nerve-wracking finish to win by three strokes on a closing 72 at Eagle Ridge’s Aoki course here Friday.
Carlos cashed in on a crucial two-shot swing on No. 15, birdying the par-5 hole and watching Zaragosa three-putt for bogey to regain a two-shot lead. He then came through with a par-par-birdie finish to complete a three-stroke victory on a 289 aggregate in a fitting valedictory to his amateur career.
“I’m both happy and relieved,” said Carlos after nailing the elusive crown. “It was really a tough four-day ordeal at Aoki especially with the strong wind blowing the field in the last two rounds.”
It was sorry fold up for Zaragosa, who started the final round one shot behind and fell by two at the turn despite an eagle on No. 7. But he birdied the par-5 12th and pounced on Carlos’ bogey on No. 14 to draw level at the windy layout.
But the Lyceum standout cracked under pressure, missing a par putt on the 15th after Carlos buried a birdie that netted the latter a two-stroke cushion he preserved with clutch pars and a birdie.
Down by two with two holes to go, Zaragosa drove into the rough, punched out but failed to salvage a par on the 17th. He matched Carlos final hole birdie to finish with a 74 and a 292.
Cebuano LJ Go, last year’s runaway at Wack Wack, fell short of his comeback bid as he settled for third at 295 after a 73 while Korean Park Min Un fumbled with a 76 and wound up fourth with a 301.
Young club bet Dan Cruz shot the day’s best score of two-under 70 as he snatched a share of fifth with Singapore’s Marc Ong, who hobbled with a 77, at 302 while Korean Kim Dong Min and Jelbert Gamolo tied for seventh at 303 after a 75 and 76, respectively.
Justin Quiban and Raymond Gonzales rallied with a pair of 73s for 304s as they ended up joint ninth in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Group and B Hotel in Alabang and organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
But while third round leader Carlos held on to clinch the win, Korean Lee Hyong Hyun charged back from seventh place to snatch the women’s crown in the event which served as the kickoff leg of this year’s PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour.
Lee, four shots behind Oh Chae Yu of Korea after 54 holes, fired a two-under 70 for a 302 as she posted a four-shot romp over Manuschaya Zeemakorn of Thailand, who stumbled with a 76 for a 306.
Malaysian Nur Durriyah Damian also struggled with a 76 to share third place with Miya Legaspi, who limped with a 77, at 307 while Oh skied to an 81 and fell to joint fifth with Cebuana Lois Kaye Go, who had a 77, at 310.
Carlos, the pre-tournament favorite who topped the Philippine Golf Tour Q-School, also at Aoki, last month, appeared headed for a runaway win after storming to a three-shot lead as Zaragosa dropped two strokes on par-4 No. 4 before going 4-up with a birdie on the sixth.
But Zaragosa fought back with an eagle and a birdie on Nos. 7 and 8, respectively, and caught up with Carlos with a birdie and a par on Nos. 12 and 14, respectively, only to reel back with that costly bogey mishap on the 15th, which Carlos birdie to re-take a two-stroke lead.