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    Sun, Oct 2

    LAUREL, Batangas – Far from peak form, Miguel Tabuena still stood out with a scorching finish, birdying the last three holes to shoot a six-under par 66 and get past Clyde Mondilla at the start of the ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship on Tuesday.

    Mondilla took command majority of the way with a seven-under card after 14 holes before settling for a 67 in one of the early flights as the field played preferred lies due the Splendido Taal Golf Club left wet by days of rain.

    Blistering finish

    Tabuena, who beat Mondilla on the second playoff hole to claim the ICTSI Luisita crown last March, reeled back with a wet bogey on the 13th before closing out with a blistering run of birdies for a 34-32 that put him in a very familiar place.

    “I didn’t really hit my best. I got to a very slow start and didn’t birdie the early holes. But I got it going on No. 8 and was able to make some grounds (after the bogey) by birdying the last three holes,” said the two-time Philippine Open champion Tabuena, also a two-time winner here at Splendido.



      In the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour event, Chanelle Avaricio fired a solid two-under 70 and wresting a one-shot lead over Sunshine Baraquiel and amateur Mafy Singson.

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      Mondilla, who marked his runner-up finishes at Luisita and Caliraya with final round rallies, had set his title drive in motion in the P2 million event with a fiery start but lost his momentum at the finish, bogeying Nos. 15 and 18 for a 33-34.

      A slew of fancied bets kept the duo within sight, including Dutch Guido Van der Valk, who atoned for an opening-hole bogey with five birdies in the next 14 on his way to a 68.

      “The greens were a little bit faster than we were in practice. So, it took a little time to get used to that. But after that, I hit the ball really well and didn’t get into too much trouble,” said van der Valk, who edged Mondilla by one to snatch the Country Club Invitational crown in 2020.


      In control of the field, Tabuena expects to do have complete control of his game in Wednesday’s second round in an attempt to build a big cushion heading to the last 36 holes of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

      “Nothing will change, same game plan,” he said. "Let’s see what happens.”

      Tony Lascuña also wants to make things happen after putting himself in early contention in the 72-hole championship put up by ICTSI with five birdies against two bogeys for a 69 and a share of fourth with Art Arbole and Dino Villanueva.

      Eric Gallardo fired a solid 70 to join Joenard Rates, Reymon Jaraula and top amateur Ryan Monsalve at seventh.

      Ira Alido fought back from a three-over card after five holes with four birdies in the last 10 as he saved a 71 for a share of 11th with Ferdie Aunzo, Jerson Balasabas, Paul Echavez, Rolando Marabe Jr. and amateur Perry Bucay.


      Matching par 72s were legend Frankie Miñoza, Dan Cruz, Rico Depilo, Albin Engino, Rene Menor, Sean Ramos and Alfredo Repato.

      Michael Bibat hit a three-birdie run from No. 2 but made a quadruple bogey on the par-5 11th on a wild drive and a couple of errant iron shots, ending up with a 74, the same output put in by Zanieboy Gialon.

      Putting premium on driving and ball control on the softened Splendido Taal Golf Club layout, Avaricio completed a pair of 65s to open her bid to add to earlier victories at Hallow Ridge and Caliraya.

      That proved to be the best as Baraquiel struggled on the unpredictable surface after hitting all greens and Singson went on a roller-coaster ride after an eagle on the par-5 second.

      “I played steady with two birdies and no bogeys,” said Avaricio, who lost by three to Chihiro Ikeda in the ICTSI Mount Malarayat leg in Lipa City, Batangas two weeks ago.


      “It’s the same thing for tomorrow (today), work on positioning and hope the putts would drop,” she added.

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