Dasmariñas, Cavite—Aussie Damien Jordan nailed his first Philippine Golf Tour Asia crown in style, beating a stellar field with a brilliant final round 68 for a whopping four-stroke victory over Thai Namchok Tantipokhakul in the Aboitiz Invitational at Orchard’s Palmer course here yesterday.
Jordan fended off Tantipokhakul and Angelo Que’s early threat with a decisive four-birdie binge in a seven-hole stretch linking both nines, turning what was expected to be a down-to-the-wire battle into a runaway triumph as his putting clicked and his rivals faltered in hot condition one after the other.
“I putted superb,” who actually hinted at striking back this week after falling short in his first stab at victory where he settled for third to Jhonnel Ababa and Korean Kim Joo Hyung in Club Filipino de Cebu Invitational last week.
He pooled a 15-under 273, spiked by a lead-grabbing 64 in the first round. He slowed down with a 71 and reeled back in the rain-hit second round but got back into the groove—and the lead—with a 70 in the penultimate day of the $100,000 tournament which served as the fifth leg of this year’s PGTA put up by ICTSI.
“I had no pressure as the leader so I tried my best to avoid making mistakes,” added Jordan, who pocketed $17,500 from the $100,000 purse in the event sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.
While he kept his game and putting in check throughout the last 18 holes, his rivals floundered trying to chase and put the pressure on him.
Tantipokhakul, who with Que started the final round just two strokes off Jordan, went on a spin after a birdie on No. 2, stumbling with back-to-back bogeys. Though he hit three birdies in the next 10 holes, the Thai ace failed to rattle the plucky Aussie, who had pulled away with birdies on Nos. 6, 7, 11 and 12, cruising to victory with a run of pars in the six holes.
Tantipokhakul bogeyed No. 15 but birdied the last for a 70 for solo second at 277 worth $11,500 in the event backed by ICTSI, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology Inc.
Que also birdied No. 2 to keep Jordan within striking distance but lost out of sight with a double-bogey and bogey from Nos. 4 and 5, respectively. He recovered with five birdies but made two more bogeys and wound up with a 71, finishing tied for third at 278 with Michael Bibat, who birdied three of the last five holes to card a third straight 71, and Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia, who shot a 69. Each received $5,666.
“I lost my putting touch majority of the last three rounds. But I’m still happy with the way I played today (yesterday),” said the former three-time Asian Tour champion Que, after falling short again to nail the major crown lacking in his vast trophy collection.
Ababa, who also topped the last PGTA leg at Forest Hills last July, rallied with a cluster of birdies – four – from No. 11 but ran out of holes in his comeback bid. But his closing 67 earned him a share of sixth at 279 with two-time Aboitiz titlist Jay Bayron, Zanieboy Gialon, James Ryan Lam, Clyde Mondilla and Kim.
Bayron turned in a second straight 70, Gialon bounced back from a 75 with a 69, Lam struck back with an eagle-spiked frontside 33 but double-bogeyed No. 10 and finished with another 70, Mondilla shot a 69, and Kim birdied three of the last seven for a 68.
Jobim Carlos, winner of three tournaments the last three months, including the PGTA Riviera leg last June, also charged back with three birdies at the back but failed to break into the Top 10 with a 71 for joint 12th with Charles Hong and Justin Quiban, who fought back with identical 67s, and Tony Lascuña, who carded a 70.
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