DAVAO – Carl Santos-Ocampo rolled in a curling 15-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to beat James Ryan Lam and Randy Garalde for the title in the P1 million ICTSI Ranchos Palos Verdes Classic over the weekend.
It was a big, inspiring victory Santos-Ocampo, who survived a day-long shootout with Lam and Jun Bernis to register his maiden victory in the circuit.
Geralde also joined the fray a flight ahead with remarkable shotmaking and superb putting at the rolling Palos Verdes layout which lay defense-less in the absence of the wind.
In the end, it was Santos-Ocampo’s will and determination that spelled the difference as he struck a 9-iron approach shot from 159 yards to about two-pin length in their third stint on the par-4 18th.
He then watched his rivals flub their own birdie-bids from long range to clinch the victory in the most-tightly fought tournament after 12 legs of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
The victory, worth P200,000, thus erased the stigma of Santos-Ocampo’s final round meltdown at ICTSI John Hay Championship where he blew a big final round lead – and the title – to Marvin Dumandan last April.
Santos-Ocampo, Lam and Garalde, who wound up with 10-under 206s, all parred the first playoff hole, with the Fil-Am shotmaker barely missing a 12-foot birdie try on the 54th hole.
“It just grazed the edge. It would’ve given me the outright win at 11-under,” said the 24-year-old Santos-Ocampo of his missed putt in regulation.
“On the second playoff hole, I had a 15 footer, left to right putt and it looked as if it was short but in the last roll, it went in,” added Santos-Ocampo, who joined the growing list of first-time winners on the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and sponsored by ICTSI.
It was a sorry setback for Lam and Garalde.
Lam, tied with Santos-Ocampo after 36 holes, birdied three of the last five holes to fire a 68, while Garalde birdied the 18th for the second straight day to post the first 206 with a fiery 66.
They halved the combined P185,000 purse.