Thai Itthipat Buranatanyarat survived American Casey O’Toole’s early fiery run then bucked Orlan Sumcad’s late hole-in-one with his own brilliant finish – a seven-foot birdie on the 72nd hole, winning the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic crown by one at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Cavite on Saturday.
It was indeed a thriller of a finale in the $60,000 event, the last of two Asian Development Tour events in the country, as the lead changed hands in every swirl of the wind and every birdie and bogey made with Sumcad scoring an ace on No. 16 to grab the lead, sparking hopes for a breakthrough win for the reticent Filipino shotmaker.
But in the end, it was Itthipat, who came out triumphant in a day-long battle of shotmaking, iron play, putting – and nerves – clinching it with that delicate putt from that crushed Sumcad, who earlier missed his own birdie bid from around 14 feet.
“I was really nervous out there and I was really trying hard to hang in there. I was struggling to make birdies after the turn and I was extremely thrilled when I finally made it on the last to win. I told myself to stay calm out there despite the pressure,” said Itthipat, 22, whose closing 72 and a five-under 283 total netted him the hotly disputed championship worth $10,500.
It was Itthipat’s first victory on the circuit after losing by three to compatriot Panuwat Muenlek in the PGM Terengganu Championship in Malaysia last month and it completed the foreign players’ sweep of the two ADT events here after Malaysian Arie Irawan beat Miguel Tabuena by four at ICTSI Eagle Ridge last week.
Sumcad looked headed to redeeming the locals’ pride after scoring his second career ace on the 187-yard No. 16 to snatch a one-shot lead over Itthipat but made a second straight bogey on the next when he drove out of bounds then missed a playoff-clinching putt from 12 feet on the 18th. He also shot a 72 for solo second at 284 worth $6,900.
“I hit it perfect off the mound on No. 17 in the first three days but I miscalculated it today (yesterday),” said Sumcad, who took home $6,900. “But I’m still happy for finishing second, at least I now have something to support my campaign in the next tournaments.”
O’Toole charged back from four shots back with a string of early birdies, took the lead on No. 12 only to yield it with a bogey on No. 14 then blew it all with another bogey on the 18th. He finished with a 70 for solo third at 285 worth $4,200.
Halfway leader Frankie Miñoza rebounded from a disastrous third round 77 with a 70 as he tied opening day joint pacesetter Paul Harris, also of the US, who made a 71, at fourth with 286s. Each got $3,000.