LOIS Kaye Go overcame Bianca Pagdanganan’s back nine charge with clutch par putts in the last two holes, claiming the Philippine Amateur Open Golf Championship women’s crown with a closing 70 for a one-stroke win on Sunday at Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite.
Go was four shots ahead at the turn but Pagdanganan came charging back with three birdies in the last nine holes to pull within one.
However, Pagdanganan could not convert birdie putts from long range in the last two holes and Go, a Boston College junior, kept her poise and matched her Asian Games gold medal teammate’s pars to clinch the title on a 72-hole 285 total.
“I got a little bit rattled after she (Pagdanganan) birdied Nos. 15 and 16. But I stayed relaxed and told myself to just take it easy,” said Go, who trailed the fancied Pagdanganan and Thai ace Atthaya Thitikul with a 71 in the first round, closed in on the duo with a gutsy 74 in tough conditions Friday then surged ahead with a brilliant 70 in windy play Saturday.
Pagdanganan, who trailed by three after 54 holes, fell farther back with a par-game (35) in the first nine holes as Go closed out the frontside birdie-bogey-birdie for a 34.
With a huge lead, Go, a SEA Games bronze medalist who also won the Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open last year, opted to go for pars at the back but Pagdanganan worked her way back with a birdie on the 10th then threatened within one with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16.
Pagdanganan, the Asiad individual bronze medalist, finished with a 68 for a 286 in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and backed by Cignal, Metro Pacific and Summit Ridge.
Gen Nagai of Japan claimed the men’s title, edging Thailand’s Vanchai Luangnitikul with birdie on the second extra hole of a three-man playoff with Singapore’s Lucius Toh in the event held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
Nagai and Toh fought back with identical 71s to force a three-way tie at 298 after 72 holes as Luangnitikul stumbled with a 72. But Toh bowed out early with a bogey on the first playoff hole (No. 18), then Nagai struck a solid approach shot to within four feet for birdie on their next return to No. 18 to beat the Thai, who missed the green, for the crown.
“I played my best game today this win will bring me more confidence as I head back to the US,” said the Mandaue, Cebu-based Nagai, a former Philippine Junior champion and member of the Seton Hall U Athletics.
Ivan Monsalve turned in a 73 and wound up a far fourth at 204 while Aidric Chan limped with a 75 for fifth at 305.