TRECE MARTIREZ, Cavite – Oscar Zetterwall of Sweden pounced on Kasidit Lepkurte’s early meltdown in sweltering heat then outgunned Japanese Toru Nakajima in a windy backside shootout to score a breakthrough on the Asian Development Tour, winning the ICTSI Sherwood Classic crown by three on a closing 68 at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club here Saturday.
It took Zetterwall and Nakajima just nine holes to overhaul what had seemed to be Lepkurte’s big four-stroke lead but the Thai bet turned from flawless to flawed, bogeying three of the first nine holes after dominating the pivotal third round with a solid 64, enabling the Swede and the Japanese to take the 1-2 posts.
Zetterwall took command with a 34 while Nakajima lurked just behind with a 35 and the duo, tied with Indonesian Danny Masrin after 54 holes, battled it out shot-for-shot and putt-for-putt in the last nine holes until the former moved 2-up with a clutch birdie on No. 12 and the latter blinked and bogeyed No. 13 on a missed green mishap.
That gave Zetterwall a big three-shot cushion, which he preserved with another birdie on No. 15 and routine pars as Nakajima’s last-ditch rally fizzled out with another bogey on the 17th after threatening last with back-to-back birdies from No. 14.
“It’s always war on the golf course and I was just lucky I made it,” said Zetterwal, who pooled a nine-under 279 total worth $10,500 and capped another foreign sweep of the ADT events here for the second straight time.
Malaysian Gavin Green also led the foreign domination at ICTSI Manila Southwoods last week.
The 27-year-old shot maker from Stockholm, ranked 30th back home but has been campaigning in the region the last five months, has churned out a previous best joint fifth place effort at UMW Championship in Malaysia last February. He also had three missed cuts in his first eight tournaments in the farm league of the Asian Tour.
Nakajima, who nipped Jay Bayron in a playoff to snare the ICTSI Wack Wack Championship in 2013, finished with a 71 for solo second at 282 and received $6,900.
Jobim Carlos, the talented rookie pro who groped for form with 78, 72 and 74 rounds, finally caught fire and sizzled with a mind-boggling 11 birdies, including the last six in a pair of 32s marred by one bogey and a double bogey on the 10th. He closed out with a 64, tying Lepkurte’s third round burst, and ended up tied at 18th at 288 with Rufino Bayron, who made a 73, and James Ryan Lam, who skied to a 75, behind American Jarin Todd (71), Finland’s Janne Kaske (72) and first day leader Masrin (76), who all pooled 215s.
True to the event’s hype at the demanding Sherwood course, where no lead is safe, a slew of players charged back into contention as Lepkurte broke down with a spate of bogeys in another wind-raked day, setting the stage for the scrambling finish in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
John Catlin closed to within one off Zetterwal with a three-under card after 10 holes but the American faltered with a bogey on the par-5 12th and never threatened again for a third straight 70. South African Mathiam Keyser hit four birdies in an eight-hole stretch from No. 3 and moved three shots off the pace but missed a couple of birdie chances in the next four before closing out with two more birdies to fire a 68.
Lepkurte dropped one more stroke on No. 11 but tried to fight back with back-to-back birdies from the next only to bogey two of the last three and end up with a four-over 76. All three wound up tied at third at 283 and each received $3,400.
“It was a disappointing finish. I played no good and maybe this tournament was not meant for me,” rued Lepkurte, who looked headed for a romp after storming to a four-stroke lead with a bogey-free 64 Friday.
Dutch Guido Van der Valk gunned down an eagle on the par-5 12th but settled for pars the rest of the way for a bogey-free 70 and solo sixth at 212 worth $2,200 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade and Champion.
Clyde Mondilla also made one big charge midway through, birdying the last three par-5s but holed out with a double-bogey mishap and finished with a 71 for joint seventh at 213 with American Nick Sherwood and Canadian Lindsay Renolds, who both carded 70s.
Marvin Dumandan likewise rallied with a three-under card after 12 holes but like Mondilla, wavered with two bogeys in the last six and ended up with a 71 for a 214. He settled for a share of 10th with compatriot Michael Bibat, who fired a 70, and Americans Dino Giacomazi, who fumbled with a 73, Paul Harris, who charged back with a bogey-free 67, and Samuel Chien, who also moved into contention with a 33 but sputtered with two bogeys against a birdie at the back for a 70.