Santino Pineda and Korean Ji Won Lee churned out a pair of dominant victories as they enhanced their respective bids for the national finals of the Junior PGT Series, topping Round 3 of the premier category under the 18-hole stroke play format at Splendido Taal in Batangas last Sunday.
Pineda birdied two of the last four holes to rescue a gross 73 at the challenging Splendido Taal Golf Club worth 53 points under the Molave scoring system as he ran away with the boys’ 15-18 trophy with a seven-point romp over Zachary Villaroman.
Pineda, an AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) campaigner, posted the best frontside score of 25 points on two bogeys and a run of pars then came up with a 28-point output at the back spiked by three birdies against two bogeys.
Villaroman, son of former three-time Junior World champion and swing coach Carito, hit two birdies but made seven bogeys and a triple bogey for a gross 80 worth 46 points while Mark Kobayashi scored 41 points from a gross 85 for third.
Rafael Manaol finished with 40 points from a gross 86 while Miguel Espartero and Von Raiden Tablac struggled for 38 and 26 points from grosses of 88 and 100, respectively, heading to the last two legs of the circuit at Pradera Verde and Eagle Ridge featuring the 18-hole stroke play and drive, chip and putt formats, respectively.
Lee, who tied for fifth in the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour’s Del Monte leg two weeks ago, likewise dominated the girls’ 15-18 field, also coming away with a gross 73 on three birdies against four bogeys for 53 points. She annexed a whopping 11-point win over Lia Duque, who scored 42 points from a gross 84 with Angelica Bañez ending up third with 23 points from a gross 103.
Patrick Tambalque, on the other hand, outgunned Alexander Crisostomo in a virtual shootout in the early going of the boys’ 13-14 Round 4 play then held sway at the back to fire a two-under 70 worth 56 points, four points clear of the latter, who finished with 52 points from a gross 74.
The bespectacled Tambalque, winner at Mt. Malarayat last June, sizzled with a birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie start then hit three more birdies against four bogeys and a double bogey en route to victory in the one-day tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and supported by Kampfortis Golf, the official apparel of PGTI.
Crisostomo also made a fiery birdie-par-birdie-birdie start but faltered with a triple-bogey on No. 5 and stumbled with three bogeys against a birdie the rest of the way.
Jose Carlos Taruc likewise birdied two of the last four holes to save an 81 worth 45 points then nipped Chaz Limketkai, who also ended up with the same output marred by double bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17, in the countback for third place.
Meanwhile, Round 4 action for boys’ and girls’ 15-18, and Round 5 for boys’ 13-14, also under 18-hole stroke play, will be held at Pradera Verde in Lubao, Pampanga next Sunday (Sept. 24).
The last elims leg will be staged at Eagle Ridge on Oct. 1 for boys’ and girls’ 15-18 classes under the drive-chip-putt format with the Top 5 qualifiers in various divisions advancing to the national finals on Oct. 3 at The Country Club in Laguna.