Clyde Mondilla pulled through in a playoff with fellow former jungolfer Jobim Carlos, tapping in for birdie on No. 18 to foil the rookie pro’s breakthrough bid and capture the P3.5 million ICTSI Manila Masters crown at the Eastridge Golf Club in Binangonan, Rizal on Saturday.
Mondilla, who has scored three victories in a young pro career, including a career-best one-shot triumph over Tony Lascuña in the season-ending Tournament Players’ Championship last year, hit a superb 3-iron second shot from 240 yards to the edge of the green on their second trip to par-5 closing hole and barely completed an eagle feat after his pitch stopped inches short off the cup.
“It was a hard-earned victory and I’m lucky I did it,” said the 23-year-old Mondilla, who rallied with a 70 to force a playoff at 283 and went on to match his previous career record winnings of P650,000.
Carlos, who earlier equaled Mondilla’s closing birdie to card a 72 and stay in the hunt for a breakthrough victory on his rookie year, failed to score a repeat, flubbing his birdie bid from 15 feet and enabling Mondilla to snare the victory.
He rued his slip-up on No. 1 and his costly miscue on No. 15.
“I made mistakes. There were instances you cannot avoid committing lapses and it happened in the last round,” said Carlos, who double-bogeyed No. 1 and dropped two strokes on No. 15.
Still, the former national standout held on, coming through with clutch birdies at the finish to keep his title bid alive, only to fall short against the steady rising Del Monte star in the first event decided in a playoff after five legs of the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“We fought many times during our jungolf days and this was the first time we played in sudden death. He played well and he deserved the honor,’ said Carlos, who still banked P430,000 for his first earnings in the pros.
Carlos actually blew a one-stroke lead over Mondilla with four holes to play in regulation as he double-bogeyed the par-4 15th and trailed by one. But just when Mondilla thought the rookie pro has started to crack up in a pressure-packed finish, the 20-year-old shotmaker birdied the par-3 16th to draw level.
In the end, Mondilla prevailed over an upstart who took charge of a stellar field halfway through with a second 69 and held on to the lead with a scrambling 73 in the third round of the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.
For a while, Carlos seemed to prove he’s up to the challenge, bouncing back from a double-bogey mishap with back-to-back birdies from No. 2 to stay on top then ran off a slew of pars to hold Mondilla at bay.
Joenard Rates, who shot the tournament-best 67 Friday to cut Carlos lead to five, recovered from a bogey-bogey start with birdies on No. 3 and 5 then birdied the 18th to card a 71 and snatch solo third at 287 worth P240,000.
A wild, wooly finish actually loomed with a slew of others wheeling back into contention in the early going of another hot, windy day at the rolling, mountain-top course which proved as tough as it was in the first round, yielding just 10 under-par cards yesterday and 20 in the first three days.
Rene Menor, the first round leader, stayed in the hunt despite a front 37 but flubbed a couple of birdie putts at the back and faded with a double-bogey mishap on the 17th. He wound up with a 75 for joint fourth with Jay Bayron at 288. Each got P175,000.
Bayron, the most veteran in the final threesome who threatened within one with a 70 in the third round, hardly recovered from a bogey-bogey start with a birdie on the sixth as he dropped two strokes on the par-3 eighth and made another double bogey on No. 11, needing to birdie the 18th for the fourth straight day to finish with a 76.
Frankie Minoza pulled to within two with a birdie on No. 6 only to fall farther back again with a bogey-bogey windup at the front.
He did fight back with a birdie on No. 14 but bowed out with a nasty triple-bogey seven on the next hole. He ended up with a 38 and 75 for joint sixth with a rallying Angelo Que at 289. Each received P125,000.
Que finally found his range and rhythm, only in the last nine holes which he played to four under as the last year’s champion posted the day’s best score of 69 to salvage a top six finish.
Miguel Tabuena likewise rallied at the back with three birdies in the first six holes but bogeyed the 17th and settled for 70 and solo eighth at 291 while Dutch Guido Van der Valk carded a 74 and Chris delos Santos ended up with a 76 to share ninth place at 292.
Tony Lascuna, runaway winner at Luisita last month, closed out the way he opened his campaign, on a struggling note as the former three-time Order of Merit winner wound up with a 76 and finished out top 10 at 11th with a 293.