A playoff loser the last time out, Clyde Mondilla found himself on the winning side this time, edging Orlan Sumcad despite a double-bogey in a bizarre sudden death to capture the ICTSI Riviera Classic crown in Lipa, Batangas on Saturday.
Mondilla faced another playoff meltdown after an errant drive on the par-4 18th with Sumcad splitting the fairway on a solid hit. But as Mondilla took a drop and hit it short of the green, Sumcad crumbled under pressure, overshooting the green from just about 170 yards, the ball going out-of-bounds. He missed the green on his fourth shot and two-putted, enabling Mondilla to snatch the crown on a double-bogey finish in a weird ending to what was expected to be a shootout after the duo sizzled with low rounds in regulation.
“I will never forget this win. This is so sweet, winning what seemed to be a losing stand,” said Mondilla after his great escape worth P360,000. “It also made up for my playoff loss to Jay (Bayron) at Riviera.”
It was actually the rising Del Monte star’s second win in sudden death. He also foiled Jobim Carlos on the first sudden death hole in the Manila Masters at Eastridge then dominated the field at Calatagan for a back-to-back title feat last May.
But he struggled in the next five tournaments, three of which was swept by Tony Lascuña and withdrew at Aboitiz Invitational on a sore back before losing to Bayron in a playoff at ICTSI Riviera Classic two weeks ago.
Sumcad moved threateningly close to scoring a breakthrough win when he fired a 66 to tie Mondilla, closing out with a 67, at 15-under 273 after the duo fended off a slew of rivals throughout the last 18 holes in heavy rain in the early going and scorching heat at the finish.
Mondilla kept his one-stroke lead intact after matching Sumcad’s 33 at Mt. Lobo but dropped into joint lead with a bogey on the 10th of Mt. Malipunyo. The duo birdied No. 12 to remain even then Mondilla regained the lead with a birdie on No. 15.
But Sumcad refused to give up and countered with a long birdie on No. 16 then matched Mondilla’s birdie on the 18th to force another playoff for the second straight tournament in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
Sumcad took home P250,000 with the setback expected to toughen up the long-hitting Bacolod pro heading to the last three legs of this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Bayron, winner of the last two legs at Aboitiz Invitational at Wack Wack and Riviera, failed to unleash a strong finishing kick and ended up third this time at 279 after a bogey-free 70 and pocketed P140,000.
Just three behind Mondilla after 54 holes, Bayron pressed his bid early with a birdie on the second hole in second-to-last flight but the missed sustaining his charge with flubbed birdie chances, gunning down just one more birdie on No. 12 and a slew of pars the rest of the way.
Tony Lascuña, the winningest player in the season with four titles, including three straight at Forest Hills, Eagle Ridge and Bacolod, did make a final round charge, going four-under after 13 but reeled back with a bogey on No. 16 before ramming in another birdie on the next to rally to solo fourth at 280 after a 68 worth P115,000.
Marvin Dumandan wilted under final round pressure in the championship flight and stumbled with a 73, dropping to fifth instead at 281 while Jhonnel Ababa shot a 70 to tie Dutch Guido Van der Valk, who matched par 72, at sixth at 283.
Anthony Fernando also rallied with a 68 to tie Mars Pucay, who fired a 71, at eighth at 284 while Zanieboy Gialon shot a 70 and wound up 10th at 285 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.