TEAM Philippines fought off Thailand’s final round charge with clutch putts from the long range as Miya Legaspi and Princess Superal closed out with identical two-under 69s to finally nail its first-ever Santi Cup crown via a whopping 13-stroke romp at the Empire Hotel and Country Club in Brunei late Thursday.
Virtually out of reach with a 15-shot cushion after 54 holes, the Pinay golfers struggled in the early going, enabling the Thais, with two of their players sizzling with four-under cards, to close within seven with nine holes to play.
But Superal rolled in improbable birdie putts from 35 and 25 feet on Nos. 13 and 16, respectively, while Legaspi drilled in one from 40 feet on the 16th, frustrating the five-time champions no end.
“I guess, those long putts rattled the Thais,” said Superal, who teamed up with fellow ICTSI mainstay Pauline del Rosario with identical 67s in the third round to put the Philippines way ahead of the pack.
“Finally, we got the big one over the Thais.”
With Legaspi and Superal’s closing 138, the Philippines assembled a four-day total of 544 and ended Thailand’s five-year reign in the women’s division of the 54th South East Asian Amateur Golf Team Championship, also known as the Putra Cup.
“After the first nine holes, the Thais were able to cut our lead to seven. But Princess and Miya kept their composure and came through those clutch putts at the back to secure the victory,” said national team and ICTSI coach Bong Lopez.
Del Rosario closed out with a one-over 72 and didn’t count.
Legaspi actually made it a twinkill as she likewise ran away with the individual crown with a 12-under 272 total, beating Thai Parinda Phokan (277), with Del Rosario finishing third at 278.
The win also proved to be a redemption of sort for the troika, which struggled to finish fifth in the recent Asian Games in Korea where they were installed as the pre-tournament contenders owing to Superal’s historic victory in the US Girls Juniors.
Thailand, meanwhile, reclaimed the Putra Cup crown with an 821 total, 23 strokes ahead of Singapore, which had an 844) while Malaysia wound up third with 857.
The Philippines, which ruled the event at Sherwood Hills last year, ended up fourth at 873.