Cavinti, Laguna—Zanieboy Gialon snapped a five-year title spell with a compelling victory in the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship here yesterday, coming through with clutch birdies to salvage a 71, ward off another searing Clyde Mondilla rally and win by four.
Gialon bucked a one-over card with back-to-back birdies from No. 15, regaining complete control after Mondilla pulled to within one in a flight ahead on a solid six-birdie feat after 15 holes.
But the Del Monte ace blew another birdie chance on the par-5 16th and holed out with a bogey in a frantic search to finish with flourish, ending up instead with a 67 for a 279.
That was four strokes behind Gialon, who played pressure-free coming home, sealing the huge victory, his first since posting a six-shot romp over Jhonnel Ababa at ICTSI Calatagan in 2017, with closing pars for a 13-under 275.
“I couldn’t get my game going at the front but got my confidence back after I birdied the 16th,” said Gialon, who pocketed the top purse of P360,000 after recording his fifth career victory during awards rites graced by Caliraya Springs Golf Club general manager Jerome Baldoz. “I knew Clyde (Mondilla) is tough and since he’s a long hitter, he can really score here and will never give up. So I stayed focused and just played my game.”
Gialon, who finished seventh at ICTSI Luisita Championship last month, stumbled with two bogeys against a birdie after nine holes, enabling halfway co-leader Joenard Rates to close the gap with a big bounce-back from a bogey on No. 3 with three birdies in the next four holes.
But as Gialon recovered and produced decisive birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 in a windy windup, Rates cooled down and bowed out of the title chase with two bogeys against a birdie in a four-hole stretch from No. 12 and never threatened with closing pars.
Mondilla, in contrast, put up another fiery comeback reminiscent of his exploits at Luisita where he battled back from five shots down to force a playoff with eventual winner Miguel Tabuena.
But Gialon’s eight-stroke lead after 54 holes proved too big a deficit for Mondilla to overhaul, his bid to produce a tournament-best round at the Caliraya Springs Golf Club fizzling out, along with his bid for another crack at a Philippine Golf Tour crown. He took the runner-up purse of P236,000 for the second straight time.
Rates, who fell by five on a third round 73, threatened to within two with a frontside 34 but wavered with a backside 37 and wound up with a 67 to drop to joint third at 280 with a late-charging Lloyd Go in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Go, a former national champion, birdied three of the last seven holes to match Mondilla’s 67 while Rupert Zaragosa, the other player in the championship group, slowed down with a 72 and ended up fifth at 281.
Rates and Go split the combined P242,000 prize, while Zaragosa received P86,000.
Ira Alido likewise failed to sustain a third round 67 and closed out with a 71 for sixth at 282 while former Rancho Palos Verdes winner Reymon Jaraula rallied with a 68 to snare seventh place at 284.
Enrico Gallardo shot a 70 to tie Michael Bibat, Albin Engino and Anthony Fernando, who all carded 71s, and Dino Villanueva, who matched par 72, at eighth at 285.