DASMARINAS, Cavite – Rupert Zaragosa attacked every pin on Friday and birdied six of the first 13 holes to rout Park Min Ung, 5 & 4, and retain the Philippine Amateur Match Play Championship presented by the MVP Sports Foundation at the world-class Palmer layout of the Orchard.
The 16-year-old boy wonder from Canlubang put on a sizzling display of scoring, knocking down approaches close to take the fight out of his South Korean rival in the final of the centerpiece event also backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.
“Everything just worked today,” the humble Zaragosa said after nailing yet another national title, his third men's match play crown counting his win over John Kier Abdon at Wack Wack in 2011 when he went on to hold both the boy's and men's crowns as a 13-year-old.
Park, the Junior Am titlist two years ago, was never able to pressure Zaragosa the whole round. He was actually seen by many as the favorite in the title match after needing just 12 holes each in wrapping up his quarterfinal and Final Four matches on Thursday.
Tommy Manotoc, the president of the organizing National Golf Association of the Philippines, was there to award the trophies to the champion, with Daniela Uy sharing the winner’s stage with Zaragosa after topping the women’s division.
Uy was also unforgiving after shooting down Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso, 5 & 4.
Gen Nagai, the Japanese who won the Junior Am title at Sherwood Hills two weeks ago only to run into Zaragosa in the Final Four and lose, 2 & 1 on Thursday, salvaged third place with a 1-up win over another Korean, Kim Tae Woo.
Bianca Pagdanganan was the third placer in women’s play after a 4 & 3 win over Chanelle Avaricio.
It was sweet victory for Zaragosa, who atoned for his withdrawal from the last Junior Am because of a mysterious right wrist injury.
Zaragosa played just a total of 24 holes at Sherwood, and he had to pull out of the tournament – while holding the lead – after waking up for the second round with a hurting wrist.
“This makes it all worth it, all the pain during therapy and all the hard work I turned in,” Zaragosa said.