Angelo Que blew a three-stroke lead with an early backside meltdown but hit a clutch birdie on No. 13 to salvage a 72 and edge Miguel Tabuena and Ferdie Aunzo by two to cop the ICTSI Manila Masters crown and snap a three-year title spell at the Eastridge Golf Club in Binangonan, Rizal Saturday.
Que nearly put a solid eagle-spiked 34 start to naught with bogeys in the first three holes at the back but rammed in a decisive birdie on the par-5 13th to regain control then out-steadied Tabuena with a run of pars to claim a two-stroke victory despite a closing 38.
The three-time Asian Tour champion, who bounced back from a mediocre start of 72 and 71 with a fiery 66 Friday to tie Tabuena at helm, pooled a 72-hole total of seven-under 281 to nail the elusive win on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour worth P650,000.
Hounded by poor putting, Tabuena went birdie-less for the first time in a long while but still stayed in the title hunt with a slew of pars at the back until he bogeyed the 17th and fell by two. He ended up with a 74 and dropped to joint second with Ferdie Aunzo, who rallied with three birdies at the back for a 69, at 283. Each got P335,000.
Elmer Salvador bettered Aunzo’s fiery backside rally with a five-under 31 to fire a 67 and salvage joint fourth with Clyde Mondilla, who moved to within two after 12 holes but reeled back with a closing 38 and a 72, at 284. They shared the combined P350,000 prize.
Reigning three-time PGT Order of Merit champion Tony Lascuna continued to grope for form for the second straight week, settling for a 72 and a share of sixth with Korean Woo Seung Bin, who wavered with a 73, at 286 worth P125,00 each while Cassius Casas and Jay Bayron shot identical 70s to finish joint eighth at even 288 with Orlan Sumcad, who carded a 71. Each received P88,833.
It was a sweet victory for Que, who also got back at Tabuena, who beat him by one in last week’s ICTSI Splendido Classic of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. It also ended a three-year drought for the power-hitting shotmaker, whose long slump was marred by endgame collapses.
He appeared headed to another final round foldup when he bogeyed the first three holes at the back and lost his three-stroke lead as Tabuena, who fumbled with a 37 after nine holes, drew level with pars and Clyde Mondilla, in a flight ahead, got to within one after No. 12.
But Que made full use of his power off the tee on No. 13, setting up a birdie from close range to regain a one-stroke lead. He then matched Tabuena’s par-game in the next three holes then watched his rival lose it all with a bogey on No. 17, giving the former a two-stroke lead heading to the par-5 18th, which their both parred.
Bracing for a shootout, Que jumped the gun early on Tabuena with a birdie on the first hole then went three-up with a pitch-in eagle from 20 yards on the par-5 No. 6 off a 3-iron second shot from 239 yards.
But the ghost of his late-round collapses seemed to have visited him again as Que dropped shots on the first three holes at the back, enabling Tabuena to tie at six-under overall despite a birdie-less stint, and Mondilla to close within two after 12 holes.
But Mondilla bowed out of the title race with a bogey on the 17th where Tabuena also stumbled with a missed-green mishap, allowing Que to finally secure the victory, his first since winning The Country Club Invitational for the third time in 2011.