RUPERT Zaragosa came back from two holes down against Park Min-ung before scoring a 2 and 1 victory on Thursday to make the final of the Philippine Junior Amateur Open match play championship presented by the MVP Sports Foundation at Alabang Country Club.
Zaragosa, seeking to win the men’s and boys’ titles the same year for the second time, was two down after nine holes but drew level after birdies on the 10th and 13th before forging ahead by picking another shot on the 15th to seal a title clash with unheralded giant-killer Ramir Roque.
Roque, a 17-year-old playing out of Del Monte in Bukidnon, bundled out the top-seeded Gen Nagai of Japan in the quarterfinals, 4 and 2, before scoring a lopsided 7 and 6 conquest of young Luigi Paolo Wong in the Final Four.
Daniella Uy also remained on course towards a sweet double after bundling out tournament top seed Princess Superal, 6 and 5, to make the girls’ finals.
Uy, winner of the women’s match play championship two weeks ago at Orchard in Cavite, set up a title match with Mikhaella Fortuna, who waylaid Ashia Marie Nocum, 4 and 3.
Uy conquered Bianca Pagdanganan in the quarterfinals, 5 and 4, while Fortuna posted the same score against Felicia Medalla. Nocum scored an upset over Pauleen Del Rosario, 1-up, in the quarterfinals.
It was Zaragosa’s second straight victory over the Korean expat, counting a similarly narrow escape act in the finals of the men’s match play at Orchard three weeks ago.
Park, the 2012 stroke play junior champion, got to his match against Zaragosa by outlasting Ryan Monsalve in a 21-hole marathon in the morning.
All hopes of Park knotting the match again went down the drain after his tee shot on the par-5 16th hit a tree that led to a bogey. Zaragosa went on to birdie the hole before matching the Korean’s par on the 17th to sew up the match in the event backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.
“It was a very tight match, as in all of our past matches against each other,” Zaragosa said. “The match could have gone either way, because we needed birdies to win holes and we were making them.”
Zaragosa first held the boy’s and men’s championships as a 13-year-old in 2011.