ANGELO Que marked his return to local turf in big fashion, outclassing a stellar international field with a kind of finish that wins big-time championships – a six-under 65 that netted him a five-stroke triumph over Australia’s Tim Stewart in the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship.
Two up over American Christopher Hickman and Justin Quiban after 54 holes, Que made it a bit more interesting with a bogey on the first hole, sparking hopes even from the other pursuers, including Stewart, wanting to get a crack at the coveted crown in the $100,000 championship.
But the long-hitting shotmaker cut short all their expectations with a run of birdies, hitting five to close out the frontside with a 31. Back up by three with nine holes left, Que birdied the first two holes at the back, including a 25-footer on No. 10, to all but wrap up the chase for honors in this third leg of the third season of Philippine Golf Tour Asia put up by ICTSI.
“After I led by four after 10 holes, I knew I was in control already,” said Que, whose third six-under card on a course he calls home netted him a 72-hole total of 22-under 262. “In order for the other to catch up, they had to make birdies in succession.”
Nobody did and the former Philippine Open champion settled for a run of pars in the last seven holes and still won by a big margin.
“Hickman played well too but he could not putt and missed a lot of birdie chances,” added Que, who received the replica of the check worth $17,500 (around P893,000) from Southwoods golf director Jerome Delariarte and Joop Kalambakal of ICTSI Public Relations.
Que scored his first local victory since posting a 12-shot romp at PGT Mt. Malarayat in 2017, said he’ll take a few days rest before heading back to Japan to resume his campaign, including his title-retention drive in Tokai Classic in Aichi October.
Stewart, who led in the first round with a 63, rallied in a flight ahead with back-to-back closing birdies, shooting a second straight 67 and snatching runner-up honors with a 267 worth $11,500 that however kept the big-hitting campaigner from Sydney winless on the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Quiban lost in a power duel with Que and Hickman but matched Stewart’s birdie-birdie windup to card a 69 for solo third at 268 worth $7,000 as Hickman, who took charge in the second round, wavered at the back with two bogeys after keeping Que within sight with a frontside 32.
“I hit the ball great but missed my putts,” said Hickman, who rued his birdie chances on Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 15. He actually tied Que at 15-under with a birdie on the second hole coupled with Que’s bogey on No. 1. He ended up with a 70 and dropped to joint fourth at 269 with reigning Philippine Open champ Clyde Mondilla, who charged back with a 66.
“Some days you putt well but there are some day that you don’t. But Angelo was such a great player, especially today (yesterday),” said Hickman, who sparked hopes of a big debut on the circuit after storming ahead in the second round.
Lexus Keoninh of the US eagled the par-5 14th and hit six birdies against two bogeys, finishing solo sixth at 270.
Miguel Tabuena, who like Que took a break from their hectic campaign abroad to boost the local roster here, also rallied with a 65 to salvage seventh place at 271 while Thai Wisut Artjanawat, who became the first PGT Asia campaigner to win in Taiwan (TPGA Open) last May, also shot a 65 for joint eighth at 273 with Zanieboy Gialon (68), compatriot Sutijet Kooratanapisan (67) and Juvic Pagunsan (72).
Pagunsan, one of the pre-tournament favorites coming off a sweep of three Visayan legs of the PGT last month, kept his bid for at least a top five finish with a 33 start but double bogeyed No. 13 and dropped a stroke on the par-5 17th to turn in his worst round in four days spiked by a 63 in the second round.