Mendoza, Alburo triumph again, clinch JPGT finals berths

Winners of the JPGT Bacolod Series 2 hold their medals after ruling their respective age categories. They are (from left) Zuri Bagaloyos (girls’ 10-12), Eliana Mendoza (girls’ 8-9), Kvan Alburo (boys’ 8-9), and Race Manhit (boys’ 10-12).

BACOLOD – Eliana Mendoza and Kvan Alburo continued their dominance in the 8-9 age category at the ICTSI JPGT Bacolod Visayas Series here yesterday (Tuesday), clinching their spots in the Philippine Junior National Match Play Championship.

Mendoza delivered an impressive 84 to win the 36-hole competition for the second consecutive week, finishing with a total of 169. She outperformed Ana Marie Aguilar, who posted a 236 after a 114, while Faith Reosura placed third with a 238 after a 120 at the tight Bacolod Golf and Country Club.

“I’m very happy, this win means a lot to me because I got to make my family proud,” said the 9-year-old Mendoza from Cebu, who amassed 30 points for her twin victories, including her victory in Iloilo last week.

Fellow Cebuano Alburo mirrored Mendoza’s success, replicating his runaway triumph at the Iloilo Golf Club. He dominated the field, including Benedict Rolida and Benito Tiongko, with a two-day score of 170 after an 87, marked by birdies on Nos. 2 and 4 in hot, humid conditions. Rolida finished second with a 195 after a 95, while Tiongko came in third at 198, also after a 25-over (95) card.

Zuri Bagaloyos capped the Cebuanos’ sweep in the second leg of the Bacolod series organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. The Singapore School-Cebu student secured a commanding win in the girls’ 10-12 division, avenging her defeat to Cailey Gonzales in the Iloilo leg.

Bagaloyos, tied with Gonzales after the first round, pulled ahead with a frontside 39 and surged further with a birdie on No. 11 and a series of pars, while Gonzales struggled with five straight bogeys from No. 10.

“I worked hard for this win, and it paid off,” said Bagaloyos, whose impressive 74 gave her a 156 total and a seven-stroke victory.

Gonzales, 11, could not recover, posting an 81 for a 163, while Kelsey Bernardino finished third with a 172 after an 88. Bagaloyos and Gonzales also both all but clinched spots in the national finals with 25 points apiece.

After facing setbacks in the Luzon series, Race Manhit finally captured his elusive win, closing with a 75 to dominate the boys’ 10-12 field with a 156 total, winning over Kurt Flores, who topped the Iloilo leg but fumbled with a 95 and settled for second at 187. Isaac Locsin placed third with a 208 after a 101.

“It feels great, winning my first title in JPGT. My driving was on point for two days, my irons were consistent, and my short game saved me a lot of pars,” said Manhit, who also thanked his mom for her support.

With their consecutive victories, Mendoza and Alburo are set for the national finals in October at The Country Club in Laguna. The top two players from each category in the Visayas and Mindanao series will join the top four from the Luzon tour, with the top player in each category advancing to the head-to-head finals of the circuit sponsored by ICTSI.

Meanwhile, registration for the third Bacolod series, set for July 1-4 at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club, is ongoing. For details, contact PGTI’s Jhi Castillo at 0928-316-5678 or Shiela Salvania at 0968-311-4101.

In other results, Nyito Tiongko, also from Cebu, doubled his overnight five-stroke lead in the boys’ 13-15 class, compiling a two-day total of 155 after a 79. Ty Ritchie Go struggled with an 84 for a 165, while Dannuo Zhu carded an 81 to tie Iloilo leg titlist Inno Flores, who shot an 85, at 166.

“I think I was too relaxed playing with my fellow Cebuanos,” said Tiongko, who highlighted his 38-41 card with a birdie on the par-4 No. 7, where he hit a tree after a sliced drive and got lucky after opting to lay up with the ball resting next to the hole.

In the girls’ 13-15 division, Tiffany Bernardino from Makati turned in a second straight 87 for a 174, gaining a four-stroke cushion over Iloilo stage winner Alexie Gabi and Rane Chiu, who matched 88s for joint second at 178.

“I was able to hit the fairways and greens more and made one-putts,” said Bernardino, who also underscored the need to stay composed when under pressure. “I got pressured when I saw the scores, so I think I have to practice to have grace under pressure.”

In the premier 16-18 category, Patrick Tambalque from Silang, Cavite extended his lead to two with a 73, totaling 148, while Cebuana Dominique Gotiong stretched her six-stroke advantage to a commanding 17-shot margin with a second straight 81 for a 162.

“I tried to recover from my bad drives and short game all day. After scoring the same for two days, I expect to do better tomorrow (Wednesday), but I need to put my ball on the fairway, hit more greens, and improve my up-and-down game,” said Gotiong.

Iloilo leg winner Rhiena Sinfuego stumbled with a 92 after an 87 for a 179, while Breanna Rojas struggled with a 104 for 202.

Simon Wahing carded a 74 to stay right behind Tambalque at 150, while John Paul Oro pooled a 152 after a 75. Iloilo leg ruler John Rey Oro struggled with an 80, dropping from joint second to a share of fifth with Keith Pagalan, who carded a 77, at 156. Cody Langamin moved to solo fourth with a 154 after a four-over 74.

“I just stayed patient out there, sticking to my game plan to hit the fairways and make the most of my birdie chances,” said Tambalque, who birdied No. 17 from the fringe and holed out with a four-foot birdie putt on the ninth.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here