Ira Alido and Harmie Constantino outdueled their Korean rivals in gut wrenching final round duels to rule their respective divisions in the W Express RVF Cup Amateur Golf Championship at the Canlubang Golf and Country Club’s North course in Canlubang on Friday.
Alido squandered a four-stroke lead but battled back from one down with three holes left to foil Kim Joo Hyung with a 72 and complete a wire-to-wire triumph in the men’s side while Harmie Constantino rallied from four strokes behind to snare the women’s crown from Hwang Min-jeong with a 69.
It was a pair of stirring triumphs capping the four-day championship held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, Cignal and Metro Pacific Investments with Alido pouncing on Kim’s late-hole meltdown and Constantino cashing in on Hwang’s early foldup to clinch the two-stroke victories at 282 and 289, respectively.
The 16-year-old Alido cracked up with a double-bogey start, enabling Kim, winner of last year’s Philippine Junior stroke play crown, to rebound from four down to within one with a 33 at the front. The Manila Southwoods bet went 2-up again with a birdie on No. 12 but bogeyed the next and Kim, who birdied No. 13, drew level at seven-under overall then grabbed the lead as Alido bogeyed the 15th.
But while Alido toughened up and birdied one of the last three holes, Kim wavered, dropping two strokes on the par-4 No. 16 before closing out with pars for a 70 and 284. Cebu’s Weiwei Gao rallied with a 69 to snatch third place at 285 while Japanese Yuto Katsuragawa also fired a 69 for joint fourth with a faltering Rupert Zaragosa at 286.
Zaragosa actually started the final round just one behind Alido off a superb 69 Thursday but the former national champion stumbled with an opening 38 and hardly recovered with a 36 for a 74.
Jolo Magcalayo placed sixth with 290 after a 73 while Paolo Wong shot a 71 for a 291 for seventh followed by Carl Corpus (77-295) and Aidric Chan and Eric Gallardo, who tied for ninth at 296 after a 69 and 75, respectively.
Constantino, who led halfway through the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and held in honor of the late golf patron and former NGAP president Rod Feliciano but fell by four with a 76 Thursday, struck back with a 35 start then watched Hwang slip with bogey and a double-bogey in a birdie-less 39 to even things up.
The Filipina ace, a former national champion and member of the team that won the World Girls’ Junior team crown in Canada last year, then closed out with a solid two-under 34 with birdies on Nos. 11 and 15, both par-3s, while Hwang settled for a 36 and a 75 for a 291.
Yuka Saso, who led the Phl title romp in Canada, including the individual crown, carded a 71 to salvage third at 293 while Mikhaela Fortuna turned in a 74 for a 297 followed by The Country Club teammate Pauline Del Rosario (75-300), Bernice Olivarez-Ilas (75-302), Sophia Blanco (78-309), Nicole Abelar (74-312) and Sofia Chabon, who shared ninth place with Kristine Torralba at 314 after a pair of 77s.
Meanwhile, Korean Kim Tae Soo and Rafy Singson of TCC shared top honors in the Special Division (13-and-under) with the former taking the boys’ crown with a 318 after an 83, six shots ahead of David Guangco, who had a 324 after a 78, and the latter scoring a 332 after an 83 for a six-shot win over Arnie Taguines, who made an 82 for a 338.