Levonne Talion and Patrick Tambalque hope to ride the momentum of their respective flourishing elims campaign and push forward in pursuit of the coveted championship in the national finals of the ICTSI Junior PGT Series set Tuesday at The Country Club in Laguna on Tuesday (Oct. 3).
The duo emerged on top of the 13-14 age group category after the grueling five-round elims phase of the pioneering, course-hopping series that features the drive, chip and putt (DCP) challenge and 18-hole tournaments aimed at enhancing the youngsters’ talent and skills and at the same time developing their confidence.
The top five players in each age division in both the boys’ and girls’ classes, including 9-10, 11-12 and 15-18, advanced to the national finals based on their top three best scores. The finals will be played under the 18-hole tournament using the Molave scoring system, according to the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Talion, 13, topped two 18-hole competitions and finished second in the third while posting a couple of third-place efforts in DCP to lead the finalists in the series with 29 points.
Rafa Anciano, who ruled the DCP tilt in Round 2 and finished second in three 18-hole tournaments wound up second with 28 points, while Maria Monserrat Lapuz pooled 27 points for third and Chloe Rada and Chloe Lim matched 24-point outputs to secure the last two berths in the national finals.
“It was an exciting event for me because we get to play in those challenging courses with the DCP events making it more interesting,” said Talion. “Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to be No. 1 (after the elims) because aside from being the youngest, most of my opponents have more experience playing. It was truly unexpected.”
But she does expect to figure in the national finals of the event at one of the country’s longest and toughest championship courses, which has hosted a number of Philippine Open and Asian Tour events and home to the Philippine Golf Tour’s flagship tournament, The Country Club Invitational.
“I practice and do my fitness routine regularly,” added Talion. “As for my game plan, I plan to hit it long, keep my ball in the fairways and take time in analyzing every shot.”
Tambalque, on the other hand, hopes to flaunt his power the way he did in closing out his elims campaign in explosive fashion. He swept the last two 18-hole tournaments at Splendido Taal and Pradera Verde for a 30-point output.
“First, this prepares me for other tournaments. Second, I learn a lot from all my mistakes here and I improve every day,” said Tambalque, who also topped the kickoff 18-hole tournament at Mount Malarayat.
The bespectacled rising star also relished his eagle feat on the challenging par-5 No. 2 of Splendido, saying: “I made my eagle after a long time, maybe after two years.”
But he won’t need an eagle at TCC but a steady all-around game as he braces for a grind-out duels with Alexander Crisostomo, who had led majority of the elims before settling for second with 25 points in a tie with Tristan Padilla while Bien Fajardo and Chaz Limketkai took the two other spots with 20 and 19 overall points, respectively.
Other finalists were (9-10 division) Quincy Pilac, Makayla Verano, Cailey Gonzales, Georgina Handog and Maurysee Abalos (girls) and Race Manhit, Ryuji Suzuki, Vito Sarines, Jacob Casuga and Jose Luis Espinosa (boys);
(11-12) Mona Sarines, Precious Zaragosa, Lisa Sarines, Tiffany Bernardino and Maria Althea Bañez (girls), and Javier Bautista, Aenzo Sulaik, Jose Jacobo Gomez, Iñigo Gallardo and Lujo Gomez (boys): and (15-18) Ji Won Lee of Korea, Angelica Bañez, Lia Duque, Althea Gaccion and Kiara Montebon (girls) and Zachary Villaroman, Alonso Espartero, Mark Kobayashi, Rafael Mañaol and David Serdenia (boys).