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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Unflappable Ramos rises, claims ICTSI Lakewood crown

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CABANATUAN CITY—Sean Ramos brandished remarkable composure, overcoming two of the Philippine Golf Tour’s esteemed players to clinch the ICTSI Lakewood Championship crown with a brilliant 67 here yesterday (Friday).

Facing stiff competition from seasoned rivals, Ramos, just 20 years old, held his nerve under pressure. Tied at 17-under with Reymon Jaraula heading into the 16th hole, he showed maturity beyond his years. He birdied the par-4 hole from six feet, while Jaraula faltered with a missed par putt from four feet, resulting in a crucial two-shot swing.

Ramos maintained control down the stretch, finishing with pars to secure his first Philippine Golf Tour victory by a two-stroke margin. He capped off a strong performance with a second consecutive six-under-par round, posting a total of 18-under 270 over 72 holes at the challenging Lakewood Golf and Country Club course.

“I can’t put into words how I feel right now,” said Ramos, elated after his breakthrough win in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. “This victory means so much to me after coming close several times before.”

Throughout the tournament, Ramos faced relentless pressure from more experienced competitors but stayed composed. His solid front nine, highlighted by three consecutive birdies from No. 3, countered his rivals’ advances effectively.

Even as challenges mounted on the back nine, Ramos’s clutch birdie on the 16th proved decisive, paving the way for his victory and signaling his arrival as a rising star in Philippine golf.

“I handled the pressure well and enjoyed every moment of the competition,” said Ramos, who also contended at Palos Verdes and at the Philippine Masters but struggled in the final day of both events. “I played strategically in the closing holes to secure the win without taking unnecessary risks.”

For his triumph, Ramos earned P450,000 in prize money and looks forward to carrying this momentum into upcoming events on the Asian Development Tour.

Jaraula, who birdied the 14th to tie, also finished with a 67 for 272 worth P295,000, while Lascuña carded a 69 for third at 273. He received P170,000.

Ozeki Kakeru shot a 68 for a 274 for fourth followed by Art Arbole (66-277) and Albin Engino (73-280), while Zanieboy Gialon rallied with a 68 to tie Eric Gallardo, who put in a 70 at seventh with 281s.

Nelson Huerva turned in a 70 for ninth at 282 while Clyde Mondilla fought back with a 67 and Jhonnel Ababa shot a 70 for joint 10th at 283 with Ryan Monsalve (68), Daiya Suzuki (70) and Rupert Zaragosa (72).

Ramos marked his impressive triumph by carding back-to-back frontside 31s during the middle rounds, surging ahead of a formidable field. He sealed his victory by playing flawlessly, without a bogey over the final 36 holes.

Ramos’s path to PGT glory was paved with determination and resilience. Entering the P2.5 million championship sponsored by ICTSI, he was recovering from back-to-back missed cuts in the ADT events in Thailand.

However, these setbacks only strengthened the talented shotmaker, allowing him to join the elite winners’ circle alongside Ababa (Apo), Lloyd Go (Palos Verdes), Mondilla (Caliraya Springs), and Angelo Que (Philippine Masters) in the first five legs of this year’s 10-stage Tour, supported by PGTI’s official apparel Kampfortis Golf.

An opening round of 70 left Ramos four strokes behind leader Hyun Ho Rho. He then closed within one stroke of halfway joint leaders Art Arbole and Lascuna with a 67 Wednesday, before pulling ahead with a 66 on moving day. The final 18 holes of the inaugural ICTSI Lakewood Championship, however, unveiled the best in the young player.

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