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    Guido van der Valk receives the glass trophy from Splendido Taal Golf Club general manager Bobby Chico after completing the come-from-behind win.

    LAUREL, Batangas – Guido van der Valk made a birdie putt from way out on the 72nd hole to tie for the lead then pounced on Miguel Tabuena’s pulled drive in sudden death to pull off an improbable win in the ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship.

    Van der Valk went from two shots down to two-up over three-day leader Clyde Mondilla but lost a two-stroke lead in the face of Tabuena’s final-round blitz that featured two eagles in a flight ahead for a 64.

    Improbable putt

    But the Manila-based Dutch came through with that incredible putt from the fringe on No. 18 to spike a closing 68 and force a playoff at 16-under 272.

    “That’s ridiculous. It’s probably the longest putt I ever made in my career to get a crack at the championship, But it happens,” said van der Valk.

    One down heading to the par-4 closing hole, van der Valk hit a good drive but his right foot slipped on his approach, the ball landing on what he described as “long, long way off the hole with a massive break.”

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      On their return to No. 18 for the playoff, the Dutchman hit his approach shot to within seven feet. In contrast, Tabuena pulled his drive then hit a shot from under the tree to the right side of the green. His chip went past the hole and needed two putts to hole out.

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      Van der Valk two-putted to clinch the victory worth P360,000.

      Tabuena fell short of scoring a second playoff victory after edging Mondilla at Luisita last March, ruing a blown chance at a great comeback when he rallied from six strokes down to take command heading to the last five holes.

      That blistering Tabuena charge featured a second eagle on No. 11 but a missed green miscue on No. 16 stalled his charge while giving van der Valk a chance to mount his own version of a late rally.

      Tabuena received P236,000.

      Mondilla never recovered from a double bogey on No. 2 and ended up with a 74 to drop to third at 276 worth P136,000 while Tony Lascuña stayed in the hunt with a 34 start but made two backside bogeys and finished with a 72 for fourth at 278. He took home P106,000.

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      Former national amateur champion Lloyd Go also rallied with a 66 to tie former Masters titlist Jerson Balasabas, who shot a 68, at fifth at 279 while Joenard Rates birdied the last hole to shoot a 67 and share seventh place with Sean Ramos, who matched par 72, at 282.

      Ira Alido, who dominated the field in the ICTSI Riviera Championship at Langer in 2020, closed out the backside with a 32 for a 68 as he salvaged joint ninth at 283 with Dino Villanueva and 2019 Pueble de Oro leg winner Reymon Jaraula, who carded 69 and 71, respectively.

      Carl Corpus floundered with a 73 but still took the low amateur honors as he finished tied for 11th at 284 with Dan Cruz and Eric Gallardo, who turned in 72 and 74, respectively, in the third leg of this year’s PGT put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

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      Guido van der Valk receives the glass trophy from Splendido Taal Golf Club general manager Bobby Chico after completing the come-from-behind win.
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