Salvador whips Thai, Englishman, wins by 5 at Riviera



SILANG, Cavite – Elmer Salvador turned what was expected to be a shootout into a blowout as he romped off with a whopping five-stroke victory over Thai Pavit Tangkamolprasert and Peter Richardson of England with a closing 68, outclassing an elite field to capture the $60,000 Asian Development Tour ICTSI Riviera Classic crown here Saturday.

Salvador lost his overnight one-shot lead with a shaky start and trailed Tangkamolprasert by one after No. 6. But like in moving day Friday where he blitzed the tough Langer layout’s middle holes with four birdies to seize control, Salvador hit three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 7, this time in scorching heat, to regain control then added two more birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to secure the win, ending a year-long title spell that began when he ruled the Aboitiz Invitational in Cebu for the second straight time last year.

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Elmer Salvador holds his trophy after dominating the international field to win the $60,000 Asian Development Tour ICTSI Riviera Classic crown.

“It’s nice to win again on ADT and I would like to believe I’m a bit lucky on this circuit. I just hope to sustain my form as the tour heads to Orchard next week,” said Salvador, who emerged the lone player among the surviving 52 to finish the 72-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. with a run of under-par cards, including a 69, a 70 and a 66, for an 11-under 273 aggregate worth $10,500 (P450,000).

“I just told myself not to commit so many mistakes because it’s hard to make recovery shots here at Langer. I regained my confidence after I went 2-up again after nine holes,” said Salvador, who chipped in for birdie on No. 7, banged in an eight-footer for birdie on the next and tapped in for another birdie on the 10th. He birdied No, from eight feet and then came up with a pitch-in birdie from 20 yards on the next.

Richardson fought back with a 67 to tie a faltering Tangkamolprasert, who sputtered with three bogeys in the last seven holes for a 72, at second at 278 worth $5,550 each while Miguel Tabuena rallied with four birdies in the first 13 holes but missed gaining solo second with bogeys on Nos. 14 and 17, settling for a 69 for solo fourth at five-under 279. He took home $3,360.

Robert Pactolerin, one behind Salvador in a tie with Tangkamolprasert at the start of the round, grabbed a share of the lead with a par on No. 2 but that was the closest he could get for a crack at the title as he made three straight bogeys from No. 4 and made the turn with another back-to-back bogeys.

But he fought back with a 34 at the back and wound up with a 74 for solo fifth at 280, his best finish since he won the Bacolod leg of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour in 2011. He took home $2,640.

The win also makes Salvador the top favorite as the ADT field moves to the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship in Dasmarinas, Cavite next week, capping a two-week ADT swing on local soil.

After Salvador and Tangkamolprasert bogeyed the tough par-4 No. 2, the Thai tied Salvador at the helm with a birdie on the next and grabbed the lead with another birdie on the sixth and the Filipino ace muffing his own birdie-bid from seven feet.

But that missed putt failed to discourage Salvador. In fact, it motivated him as he birdied No. 7 to tie again then took a two-shot lead on a two-shot swing on the next with a birdie from six feet and Tangkamolprasert missed a par-putt from just about the same distance.

Still, Tangkamolprasert refused to give up, birdying No. 11 to pull within one again, only to reel back with another bogey on the next and Salvador took a three-shot cushion with another birdie on No. 13.

But it was not until he birdied the next and Tangkamolprasert made another bogey that Salvador knew that the title was his as the pulled away by five with four holes to go.

Not even a bogey on the par-5 16th, a three-putt miscue like on No. 2, could stymie Salvador’s title bid as he parred the last two holes for that 69, becoming the third player, and second Filipino, to win three times on the Asian Tour farm’s circuit. Jay Bayron has also won three ADT legs while Salvador’s two other wins on the ADT were at Aboitiz Invitational, which he ruled the last two years.

Thai Pijit Petchkasem hobbled with a 73 while opening round leader Shubhankar Sharma of India carded a 72 to share sixth at 281 worth $2,040 while Swede Nils Floren ended up solo eighth at 282 after a 73 and received $1,560.

Japan’s Tomokazu Yoshinaga shot a 68 to tie Bayron, who fumbled with a 73, at ninth at 283 while Tony Lascuna failed to sustain a third round 67 with a so-so 72, finishing in joint 11th with Cebuano Charles Hong (74), England’s Grant Jackson (72) and Japanese Tenka Terada (70) and Senroku Isa (68) at 285.

The other backers of the event, which served as the sixth leg of the ADT and the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, were Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG with ABS-CBN Sports & Action, Balls and Inquirer Golf as media partners.

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