JUN Rates birdied the last three holes to post a three-stroke win in the ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship, finally claiming his maiden title as a professional on Saturday in Baguio City.
The pint-sized shotmaker carded a closing eight-under 62 to finish at 22-under 250 total and end his five-year run of futility on the Philippine Golf Tour.
He blew a two-stroke lead and two-time money list topnotcher Tony Lascuna caught up with him early, but he sank a five-foot birdie on the 10th to regain the lead.
Rates rolled in a delicate downhiller from seven feet on No. 12 to remain on top, went two-up with another birdie on the 13th then took a three-shot cushion when Lascuna dropped a stroke on No. 14.
Refusing to give up, Lascuna fought back with a birdie on No. 15 but Rates saved another tough uphill par save from 10 feet. He matched Lascuna’s birdies in the next two before birdying the 72nd hole from two feet off a superb 9-iron shot from 160 yards for good measure.
“I had a tough time making my first birdie on No. 7 but I made three crucial par saves from long range, which kept me going and helped me win,” said Rates, referring to his putts on Nos. 8, 12 and 15.
“It’s a great feeling winning for the first time and I hope to go for it again in the next two legs at Eagle Ridge and Sherwood,” said the 5-foot-3, five-year pro from Lipa, Batangas who pocketed P360,000.
Lascuna also put on a strong finishing kick with three birdies from No. 15 to score a 63 for second spot at 19-under 253 worth P250,000.
“He (Jun) deserved to win. He played solid the whole week and was very determined to win his first title,” said Lascuna. “But it was his clutch putts on Nos. 12 and 15 that helped him win."
Jay Bayron shot a 67 and wound up solo third at 258 worth P140,000.
“I’m happy for Jun. He’s been chasing for this one for a long time,” said Jay Bayron.
Fil-Am Carl Santos-Ocampo carded a 65, took solo fourth at 259 and pocketed P115,000. Angelo Que rallied with a 64 to tie Orlan Sumcad, who shot a 65, at 261. They split the combined purse of P167,000.
Miguel Tabuena and Elmer Salvador put in identical 65s to share seventh place at 262 worth a combined P123,000, while Rene Menor fired a five-under 63 to tie Canadian Rick Gibson (66) and Jhonnel Ababa (66) at 263. Each got P45,500 in the tournament backed by Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp and FootJoy and media partners Balls TV and ABS-CBN.