NANJING – The Philippines carded a remarkable gold-silver finish in girls’ golf after Mia Legaspi and Princess Superal held off a tough field on Tuesday in the 2nd Asian Youth Games.
The remarkable win for the Philippines in the toughest Asian tournament for youth athletes enabled the Filipinos to finally barge into the medal tally and move to 11th place in the medal standings.
“It feels very good and this gold medal is very special for me. I feel very proud but I also feel I deserve this because I’ve been working really hard,” said Legaspi at the Zhongshan International Golf Club.
Legaspi, who won six of 11 tournaments in the United States over the last three months, continued her hot streak. She led from start to finish and won the gold with just enough to spare.
Legaspi finished with a 69 after eight birdies, two bogeys and the triple for a total of 201 following identical rounds of 66 the first two days.
The 14-year-old Legaspi, the youngest in the field, had some anxious moments when she triple-bogeyed the par-5 No. 2 which was her 11th hole for the day.
Superal also went for it with seven birdies and a lone bogey. She finished with a six-under 66 and a 202 total, just one stroke behind her compatriot.
“I also tried to win it but Mia was too good. It feels good we won the gold and silver. I’m very happy,” said the student of St. Francis in Las Pinas.
China’s Shi Yuting also made a run on the final day but she bogeyed the final hole for a 67 and a 205 total. Thailand’s Supamas Sangchan was next at 209 after a 71.
Tommy Manotoc, president of the National Golf Association of the Philippines, said the country should be mighty proud of Legaspi for winning a gold medal.
“We feel very happy for Mia to win the gold and Princess the silver. Mia comes strictly from a family (golf) program and we would like to support that,” said Manotoc.
The NGAP head said he’s hoping Legaspi could be around for the country for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar in December and the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
“It depends on the NGAP because they have its way of selecting the players but Mia is available anytime. This win is for all of us. This is for the country,” said Norman Legaspi, the father of Mia.
In boys’ competition, Gabriel Tomas Manotoc, the son of the NGAP president, couldn’t play the final round because of high fever. He had a chance for the bronze after rounds of 72-71.
“He was running a fever last night and even if he wanted to play he couldn’t. But they cannot say anything about our girls. It was a convincing one-two. They were shocked,” said the elder Manotoc.
Rupert Zaragosa was left to carry the brunt for the Philippines and rallied with a 68 after a 76 and 77. He finished tied for ninth at 221. Taipei’s Yu Chun-an won the gold (69-203), followed by Manu Gandas of India (68-205), and Thailand’s Danthai Boonma (69-207).
With the golds in golf secured, the Philippines awaited the result of second seed Jurence Mendoza’s third-round match in boys’ tennis.
“The victory in golf makes us very proud here. To win the gold and the silver speaks of our dominance in this event,” said chef de mission Nathaniel 'Tac' Padilla.