Alido, Saso nail junior match play crowns

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Second seed Ira Alido kept the momentum of a solid start and went on to clobber top ranked Tom Kim of Korea and fashion out a 9&7 romp for the boys’ crown in the 2016 Philippine Junior Amateur Match Play Golf Championship at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa on Saturday.

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The 15-year-old Alido also rode the crest of his 5&4 victory over Aniceto Mandanas in the semifinals Friday as he came out strong and went 4-up in their morning duel then completely outplayed Kim with a more impressive stint in the afternoon to complete the rout in their 36-hole finale.

It was the Manila Southwoods’ bet biggest win in the national tournament sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT, Smart, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and the Philippine Sports Commission and held as part of the PLDT National Amateur Golf Tour.

He also thwarted Kim’s bid to sweep the national titles after the latter topped the stroke play championship last month.

While Alido cruised to a trouble-free win, Yuka Saso needed to toughen up in the closing holes to hold off a rallying Hwang Min-jeong and capture the girls’ crown while foiling the Koreans’ bid to dominate one of the country’s premier junior tournaments organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.

Saso, a Queen Sirikit Cup veteran, also took charge early, going 3-up after 18 holes but the 14-year-old shotmaker from Tagaytay Midlands needed to come up with clutch shots on their return trip to the backside to hack out a 2-up victory.

Saso came into the finals brimming with confidence following a 5&4 rout of Kristine Torralba in the semis while Hwang, who won a pro tournament on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour at Mt. Malarayat last year, struggled past last year’s winner Harmie Constantinto, snatching the win on the 19th hole.

Constantino ripped Torralba, 4&3, to claim third place honors while Mandanas placed third in the boys’ side with a 4&3 victory over Ryan Monsalve.

In special division final results, Ivan Monsalve routed Polo Lauron, 6&5, in the morning duel then trounced Luigi Guerrero in the championship, 6&5, to cop the 18-and-above crown.

While Monsalve rolled past Lauron in trouble-free fashion, Guerrero needed 20 holes to nip Gabriel Manotoc.

Perry Bucay outplayed Francis Lanuza, 5&4, to claim the boys’ 13-and-below crown while Mikaela Arroyo earlier repulsed Sunshine Zhang, 2&1, to nail the girls title.

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