GEN Nagai of Japan and Park Min-ung proved too much for their rivals in the early rounds on Wednesday, sealing their places in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Junior Amateur Open match play championship presented by the MVP Sports Foundation at Alabang Country Club.
Nagai, the reigning junior stroke play champ and top seed in the match play tournament, needed just 12 holes to see off Jaime Patnogon, 7&6, in the morning before scoring a 4&2 win over Liam Cully in the second round of the event backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.
The second-ranked Park, a Korean expat, made short work of Karl Dela Torre, 7&5 in the first round before taking down Carlo Gatmaitan, 2&1, in the round of 16.
Local favorite Rupert Zaragosa also breezed through his first two matches.
Aiming to hold both the men’s and boy’s national titles for the second time in his career, Zaragosa had it easy in the morning, scoring a 7&6 win over Paqo Barro before being pushed to the limit by Aidric Chan in a 1-up win.
Chan bundled out Kang Min, 4&2, in the first round.
Basti Lorenzo sealed a quarterfinal clash with Zaragosa after a 6&5 win over Jed Dy. The third-ranked Lorenzo, who has bulked up in the past year, also scored a 6&5 victory over Enrique Diaz.
The winner of the Zaragosa-Lorenzo match could go on to face Park in the Final Four. Park will battle Ryan Monsalve, a 2&1 winner over Carl Corpuz, in the quarterfinals. Monsalve eliminated Gabriel Manotoc in the first round after 20 holes.
Girls’ top seed Princess Superal also advanced after scoring a scary 1-up victory over ICTSI teammate Samantha Martirez, with No. 2 Mikhaela Fortuna also moving on following a 2&1 win over Gabriel Nikhaella Bruce.
Nagai next clashes with Ramir Roque, a 6&5 winner over giant-killer Ira Alido, for a place in the top four. Alido showed 13-14 junior world champion Kristopher Arevalo the door in the first round with a 19th hole win.
Raymart Tolentino, the stroke play leader going into the final round at Sherwood Hills three weeks ago, also made it safely into the quarterfinals after scoring similar 4&3 victories over Lester Lagman and Lanz Uy.
Tolentino will be gunning for a place in the Final Four – and a potential clash with the long-hitting Nagai – against Luigi Paolo Wong today. Wong first bundled out Carlo Villaroman, 5&4, before shooting down Ivan Monsalve, 6&5.