LIPA City – Businessman Abe Avena, the circuit first-timer, returned a level par 72 Friday to win the NGAP’s Philippine Senior Amateur championship by an astounding 15 shots over Rolly Viray at Malarayat’s composite layout here.
Counting earlier rounds of 70 and 72, Avena, who is into real estate, poultry and financing, tallied 214 over the well-manicured course, unofficially becoming the first champion of the event to ever win with a sub-par total.
“I am very happy because not only did I win, but some of the guys here are telling me that in record fashion, too,” Avena, a former five-time club champion here, said.
Viray, the Canlubang Golf Club manager, started the day down by 10 shots and crept to within seven after the first nine holes with a 34 only to lose steam coming home, settling for a 77 for 229, four strokes ahead of Francis Gaston in the event presented by the MVP Sports Foundation as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.
Gaston, the Bacolod star who like Viray owns a career sweep of both the Men’s and Senior’s national titles, also closed out with a 77 for third spot, another four strokes behind Viray.
Calatagan Golf manager Dave Hernandez, also a former champion, was fourth a further stroke back after shooting a 78 with Montito Garcia of Cebu Country Club winding up fifth at 235 after assembling an 80.