Clyde Mondilla upstaged Miguel Tabuena and Tony Lascuña in another weather-delayed final round shootout among the country’s ace shotmakers, coming through with a brilliant backside charge for a 66 to pull off a one-stroke victory in the $60,000 ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championships in Carmona, Cavite on Saturday.
Relegated to the background early as Lascuña outgunned Tabuena in the frontside of the Legends course to overhaul a three-stroke deficit and go 1-up in a duel of heavyweights, Mondilla battled back from two shots down with a near-impeccable closing 33 then watched his rivals crack under pressure and flub birdie chances at the finish to complete a steal of a win on a 22-under 266 total.
Not even a missed green bogey on the par-3 16th could shake off the 24-year-old Mondilla, who cashed in on a crucial two-shot swing on No. 12 (birdie-bogey) to grab a one-stroke lead over Lascuña and went 2-up on Tabuena and three ahead of Lascuña with back-to-back birdies from No. 14.
“I’m so happy to beat our top two players but I learned a lot from them,” said Mondilla, who cashed in on his length off the tee and sneaked into the lead with four birdies in a five-hole stretch from No. 11, turning a two-stroke deficit into a two-shot edge. He preserved a one-stroke lead after that late bogey mishap with clutch pars to wrap up the crown, worth $10,500, put up by ICTSI.
Tabuena birdied No. 14 to move within one while Lascuña drilled in an eight-footer on the 17th to join the former at second, one adrift of Mondilla. But the duo missed a pair of birdie chances on the 72nd hole from just about the same distance – 9 feet – and missed forcing a playoff, enabling Mondilla to clinch the victory with a routine par.
Lascuña ended up with a 67 while Tabuena, who took a three-stroke lead on back-to-back birdies from No. 17 at the completion of his third round play early Saturday, slowed down with a 70 for 267s. They split the combined $11,100 prizes.
Trailing majority of the way, Mondilla later said the key was his monstrous drive on the par-4 11th that left him with a 40-yard pitch for an eagle that lipped out.
“I knew then that I could beat them with my power but it also helped that both of them missed a couple of birdie putts in the closing holes,” added Mondilla, who racked up three victories last year to finish behind Lascuña in the Order of Merit derby.
That tap-in birdie sparked a run of the same for the Del Monte ace who buried a four-footer on No. 12 and knocked down back-to-back feats inside seven feet from Nos. 14 to surge ahead.
Long-hitting Orlan Sumcad rallied with a 65 to snatch fourth place at 270 while Elmer Salvador placed fifth at 271 after 68 followed by Zanieboy Gialon, who fired a 67, for a 272, and Mhark Fernando and Macedonian Peter Stojanovski carded identical 70s to share seventh place at 273.
American Nicolas Paez and Justin Quiban finished tied at ninth with 274s after a 70 and 66, respectively, in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by backed by ICTSI, BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.