RUPERT Zaragosa and Felicia Medalla took different routes on the way to the men’s and ladies’ titles, respectively, in the NGAP’s Philippine National Match Play championship presented by the MVP Sports Foundation at Canlubang’s South course in Laguna.
Zaragosa trailed for the first time in the tournament after a routine par in the first hole still left him a hole down on Japanese expatriate Gen Nagai, but the pint-sized wonder turned on the heat from there and posted an authoritative 4 and 2 victory to win his second match play title in three years.
“I am very happy because I was able to regroup after trailing,” the 15-year-old Zaragosa, a graduating high school student at Don Bosco-Canlubang, said. “This means a lot to me, because this title says that 2011 was not a fluke.”
Medalla, meanwhile, needed 20 holes to dispose of Mikhaela Fortuna and book the biggest win of her budding career.
JP de Claro and Bernice Ilas-Olivares bagged third place in their respective divisions with the burly De Claro scoring a 1-up victory over Gabriel Manotoc and Olivares winning over No. 1 seed Daniella Uy by walkover.
The event was part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour and was backed by Pancake House, Pacsports and Golf Depot. Officials of the organizing National Golf Association of the Philippines led by president Tommy Manotoc and vice-president Caloy Coscoluella were on hand during the awarding.
Zaragosa birdied the third and fourth holes to forge ahead and put some more distance between him and the 16-year-old, well-built Japanese by picking up shots on the seventh and eighth for a three-hole lead after the first nine holes.
He practically put the match to bed with a long birdie putt on the 11th and played Nagai on even terms the rest of the way.