FORMER Philippine Open champion Gerald Rosales closed out with four-under 68 and clinched top honors in the 2017 Philippine Golf Tour Qualifying School at Splendido Taal Golf Club in Tagaytay on Friday.
But the big surprise came from Juvic Pagunsan, who bucked a horrible 82 start with a final round 69 to finish sixth and earn his card in the circuit which fires off its ninth season next month at Anvaya Cove in Bataan.
Rosales, who missed the top 40 with a 48th place finish in the 2016 PGT Order of Merit ranking, carded rounds of 73 and a pair of 72s to pool a 72-hole aggregate of three-under 285, nine shots ahead of Nilo Salahog, who assembled a 294 after a 74.
The top 50 earned Category 7 status while the next 10 will be included in the Category 9 of the 2017 PGT starting fields.
Ira Alido, one of the country’s top amateurs, also joined the big league with a strong third place effort, putting in a 295 despite a closing 77 while Omar Dungca rallied with a 73 to end up fourth at 296 and Keanu Jahns turned in a 75 for fifth at 298.
Efren Robles Jr. shot a 76 for a 299 to tie Pagunsan, who rebounded from that 82 with a 72, only to falter again with a 76.
Pagunsan, who has made Japan his base the last few years, had to go through the Q-School to gain his card to play on the local circuit whenever he is around and on a break from the Japan PGA Tour.
He last won here two years ago when he dominated the Asian Development Tour field to win the Aboitiz Invitational at Manila Southwoods.
Others who gained tour cards were R-James Dadizon, Nelson Huerva, Jet Mathay, Jelbert Gamolo, Robert Pactolerin, Chris delos Santos, Allan Remata, Jama Reyes, Ebarra Quiachon, John Kier Abdon, Henry Bolano, Artemio Murakami, Rudy Cabalar, Johvanie Ababa, Edward Reyes, Dino Villanueva, Ricar Candinato, Peter Villaber, Rodrigo Cuello, Jets Sajulga and Richard Abaring,
Meanwhile, the PGT Q-School for foreign bets starts Tuesday with the top 20 after the 72-hole elims will earn Category 8 status and the next 10 to be included in Category 10 of this year’s PGT starting fields.