Gavin Green pulled through in a pressure-packed, stretch-run shootout with Donlaphatchai Niyomchon and edged the Thai ace and Singaporean Deng Shan Koh by two on a closing 65 to snare the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship ADT crown at the Legends course in Carmona, Cavite on Saturday.
It was a fitting ending to a tournament that lived up to its final round hype as wide open with a slew of names storming into and dropping off the lead on a birdie hit or bogey mishap until Green surged ahead on par-3 No. 16 – not on a birdie feat but on a Niyomchon double-bogey – before the 22-year-old Malaysian put the lock on the crown with gritty pars in the last three holes for a 16-under 278 total.
“It was a really interesting round. I played solid and Donlaphatchai was on my back from the start. But I stayed patient out there and I just kept hitting good shots and kept the ball in play,” said Green after nailing his second ADT win worth $10,500 following his breakthrough at the PGM Northport Glenmarie Championship last February.
“I think I handled myself really well and this win means a lot to me,” said Green, who will head to Japan for the Asian Tour next week, thus skipping the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic.
Green and Niyomchon, who started the final round three shots off erstwhile leader John Michael O’Toole of the US, gunned down four birdies at the front to wrest control as O’Toole fumbled with two early bogeys and two birdies for a 36 and the other frontrunners tumbled down one after the other with so-so starts.
Niyomchon actually took charge with back-to-back birdies to open his backside drive but Green countered with three straight birdies from No. 11 to draw level only to fall behind again with a bogey on the next.
But as the pressure mounted in steamy condition, the Thai bogeyed No. 15 and dropped two precious shots on the 16th on a mishit and a poor recovery shot that fell into the greenside bunker, losing grip of the lead share and enabling Green to zoom ahead again – for good.
His sizzling 65 was a big rebound from a mediocre 72 Friday that knocked him off the halfway leaderboard to joint fifth as he beat Niyomchon, who wound up with a 67, and Koh, who closed out with three straight birdies but ran out of holes for a big comeback. Koh also had a 66 and tied Niyomchon for second at 270 and each took $5,550.
O’Toole, who struck back from an opening 71 with a record 61 Thursday and took the lead with a 68 in the third day, reeled back with back-to-back bogeys from No. 4, got back into the groove with birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 but muffed a couple of birdie chances at the back and ended up with a 35 and a 71. He finished tied for fourth with Thais Pijit Petchkasen, who shared the lead at the turn with a 34 but faded at the back with a 36 for a 69, and Poom Saksansin, who threatened at 14-under overall after No. 12 but bogeyed No. 15 for a 66, at 271.
For a while, local rookie pro Jobim Carlos looked headed for a big surprise when he birdied the first three holes in stirring fashion. Two down off O’Toole after 54 holes, the rising Filipino star took charge at 13-under overall but fell back just as quickly with bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5 and another on the par-5 eighth. He was never heard off from there, finishing with a 38 and a 74 and down to joint 18th at 276 with compatriots Mars Pucay (71), Keanu Jahns (73), Zanieboy Gialon (70), erstwhile joint leader Mhark Fernando (71) and three others.
No Filipino actually made it to the Top 10 with Miguel Tabuena emerging the best at joint 13th at 275 after a 68 that however capped a run of under-par cards that included a 66 and 69 after straying too far behind with an opening 72.
Manila-based Japanese amateur Yuto Katsuragawa completed an impressive run of under-par scores on his home course, firing a 66 to share seventh place at 273 (70-70-67) with American Dino Giacomazzi, who shot the day’s best 64, and Thai Suradit Yongcharoenchai, who carded a 72.
First round co-leader Taichi Nabetani of Japan shot a 69 for joint 10th at 274 with Thais Rattanon Wannasrichan, who fired a 67, and Pannakorn Uthaipas, who made a 70.
Tony Lascuna, one of the pre-tournament favorites, closed out the way he started, matching par 71 and wound up joint 30th at 279 with four others in the tournament backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade and Champion.