TRAILING big in a match for the second straight day, Rupert Zaragosa dug deep and outsteadied the hard-fighting Ramir Roque, 2-up, to win the Philippine Junior Amateur Open match play championship presented by the MVP Sports Foundation at posh Alabang Golf Club on Friday.
The 16-year-old Zaragosa, an incoming college freshman at Lyceum in Cavite, erased a two-hole deficit after three holes with pars proving good enough to win this time as he completed another sweep of the boy’s and men’s championships in the event forming part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.
“I am extremely happy for being able to play the way I did, because we both scrambled all round,” said Zaragosa, who also swept both titles as a 13-year-old in 2011.
Daniella Uy shared the winner’s stage with Zaragosa in the event backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports, but not after being taken to 20 holes by young Mikhaella Fortuna in the girls' championship match that was also played under scorching heat.
Uy and Zaragosa both triumphed at the Palmer course of The Orchard in Dasmarinas, Cavite three weeks ago and both hurdled some pretty formidable foes here.
Roque and Fortuna provided the stiffest challenge for both in a final day filled with a lot of good shotmaking.
Zaragosa pulled level after pars on the sixth and eighth holes – which Roque bogeyed – before falling 1-down again with a bogey on the 10th after his approach hit a tree on the right fairway.
Roque, a find from Bikidnon, then three-putted the 12th green as the match fell back to all square before signing for back-to-back bogeys from the 13th after missing both greens.
The 17-year-old, who chalked up his highest finish in a national event, didn’t fold up from there, draining a 25-foot putt for birdie on the 15th to prune the deficit to one.
Both birdied the par-5 16th and settled for pars on the 17th, leaving Roque with one chance to tie it all up going into the final hole.
And after Zaragosa put hit drive safely on the fairway of the par-5 closing hole, Roque pulled his tee shot so bad that he needed to play out of the tree-lined, left side rough that led to another bogey.