SILANG, Cavite – Jay Bayron took the ICTSI Riviera Classic crown as Clyde Mondilla hit a wild drive and an errant approach shot on the third playoff hole on No. 1, reaching the green in regulation and nailing his second straight Philippine Golf Tour crown at Riviera’s Langer course here yesterday.
Bayron, who birdied the 72nd hole to salvage a 71 and force a playoff with Mondilla, who faltered with a 73, at four-under 280, drove to the right center of No. 1 and easily made it to the green then watched his rival hook his drive and hit the trees on his approach, the ball bouncing back to the rough.
Seeing the futility of his bid, Mondilla conceded the hole and the match, enabling Bayron to wrap up another championship in as many weeks.
“It’s a tough win but I’m happy I made it,” said Bayron, who pocketed another P270,000 one week after banking $17,500 (P822,000) following his two-stroke triumph over Malaysian Gavin Green at Aboitiz Invitational at Wack Wack.
The duo traded pars in the two playoff holes on No. 18. But as the duel shifted to No. 1, Mondilla lost his touch off the mound and his poise on his second shot.
In contrast, Bayron flashed the same composure he showed in outlasting Green in a backside duel, coming through with a solid drive and an equally superb approach shot to frustrate Mondilla.
It was the second longest playoff duel this year after Frankie Miñoza outlasted Miguel Tabuena on the fifth extra hole to snatch the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic crown in Bacolod last month.
It was a heartbreaking defeat for Mondilla, who blew his overnight one-stroke edge to a charging Nicolas Paez but recovered and regained the lead with back-to-back birdies from No. 15. The back-to-back winner at Eastridge and Calatagan kept his bid for a third leg crown by matching Bayron’s pars in the first two extra holes only to falter with that errant drive on the third. He settled for a 1-1 in playoff duels this year after nipping Jobim Carlos in sudden death at Eastridge last June.
It was also a sorry setback for Paez, who started the final round just one shot behind Mondilla then grabbed the early lead as the third round leader bogeyed the first two holes. The 27-year-old Californian moved two-up with a birdie on the fourth but dropped into a share of the lead again with bogeys on Nos. 7 and 9.
He regained the lead with another birdie on the 13th but Mondilla countered with a birdie on No. 15 before the duo succumbed to pressure and bogeyed No. 17.
That also enabled Bayron to gain a crack at the championship as the top Davaoeño shotmaker, one down behind the duo heading to the 72nd hole, birdied the closing hole to tie Mondilla, who closed out with gutsy par, at four-under overall.
Paez failed to check his skid and bombed out with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 18th, after hitting the fairway bunker off the bound and needing four shots to reach the green in another stretch-run foldup reminiscent of his final round meltdown in Aboitiz at Wack Wack where he closed out with a 77 after taking charge in the middle rounds.
Paez wound up with a 74 and dropped to joint third with American Micah Shin, who carded a 73, at 282 while Carlos, who fought back from six down to move within one with a three-under card after 10 holes, failed to sustain his final round charge with bogeys on Nos. 14 and 17. He ended up with a 70 for solo fifth at 283.
Elmer Salvador, who dominated this event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. the past two years, found his touch and rhythm a bit late, firing a three-under 68 to share sixth place at 284 with four-leg winner Tony Lascuña, who matched par 71, and Rolando Marabe Jr., who also rallied with a 68.
Marvin Dumandan capped his comeback from an opening 79 with a 67 as he finishing joint ninth with halfway leader Rufino Bayron, who wavered with a 76, at 286 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.