Jhonnel Ababa ends title drought with seven-stroke victory in PGT Asia's Eagle Ridge leg
Jhonnel Ababa bags his first title since winning in Sabah in 2014.  

JHONNEL Ababa broke a long title spell with a record seven-stroke victory at the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational with a closing three-under 69 at the Aoki course in Gen. Trias, Cavite.

Ababa fought back from a bogey start with three straight birdies from No. 3, recovered from another missed green miscue on No. 6 with birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 then birdied No. 14 after another bogey.

Ababa, 33, wound up with a 10-under 278 aggregate after rounds of 68-71-70.

Elmer Salvador fumbled with a 74 for a 285 total for second.

“It’s been a long while and I’m very happy to finally score a victory again,” Ababa, who banked $UD17,500 (around P880,000) for his first title since winning in Sabah in 2014.

“I just played superb all week,” added Ababa, who produced 20 birdies against 10 bogeys in the four-day championship, PGT Asia’s sixth leg.

“The tournament was his (Ababa) for the taking. But I hope to rebound in the next event,” said Salvador, who took home the $11,500 runner-up prize.

Ababa also extended the locals’ domination of the PGT Asia after Miguel Tabuena won the Aboitiz Invitational by one over Angelo Que. Rene Menor bested Thai Pasavee Lertvilai in a record five-hole playoff in the second leg at Splendido, Clyde Mondilla edged Michael Bibat and amateur Tom Kim by two at Riviera, Tony Lascuña outduelled American Nicolas Paez and won by two at Wack Wack and young Justin Quiban nailed a breakthrough at Luisita with a three-stroke triumph over Joenard Rates.

Rates struggled with a 74 but still grabbed third place at 287 worth $7,000, to complete a 1-2-3 finish by the Davao bets.

Frankie Miñoza carded a 73 and tied Lascuña, who turned in a 74, and Charles Hong and Keanu Jahns, who shot identical 75s, for fourth with 292s.

Lertvilai birdied two of the last three holes to save a 73 for joint eighth at 293 with Indonesia’s Jordan Irawan, who also scored a 73, compatriot Tommy Mansuwan, who groped for a second stripe 75, and Quiban, who hardly recovered from a disastrous third round 77 with a 75 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.

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