Talion, Taruc secure dominant wins at JPGT Riviera

SILANG, Cavite – Levonne Talion finally secured victory after three unsuccessful campaigns in the ICTSI Junior PGT Luzon Series, achieving a commanding 25-stroke win over Maria Montserrat Lapuz in the girls’ 13-15 division with a 76 at the Riviera Golf and Country Club yesterday (Thursday).

Talion effectively clinched the title in the fourth leg of the seven-stage regional series with rounds of 85 and 80, showcasing a stronger finishing performance to highlight her dominance. She achieved her goal of scoring in the 70s on the softened but challenging Couples course, which she calls home.

Despite a double bogey on the fourth hole after overshooting the green and three-putting, Talion rebounded with a birdie on the next hole. She maintained control with a series of pars, even as she endured bogeys on the 12th, 13th and 15th holes.

Talion finished with a four-over card, bringing her 54-hole total to 241. This victory follows her fourth-place finish in the series’ kickoff leg at Splendido Taal and two third-place efforts at Pradera Verde and Pinewoods, significantly boosting her bid for a spot in the Philippine Match Play Championship at The Country Club in October.

Montserrat posted an 88 for a 266 while Kendra Garingalao rallied with a 79 to edge Visayas Series’ Iloilo leg winner Alexie Gabi, who made an 85, for third after both scored 268s.

“I worked hard to earn this win, so I’m very proud,” said Talion, 14, who plays out of Letran Calamba. “I struggled in my past tournaments, so I dedicated more time to practicing my range and focusing on my short game. I knew these improvements would significantly enhance my performance.”

Jose Carlos Taruc also shared the spotlight with Talion, dominating the boys’ 13-15 field by 17 strokes with a three-day total of 231, highlighted by a closing two-over 74. Andres Fabie posted a podium finish for the first time at second with a 248 after an 83, while John Paul Agustin, Jr. also carded an 83 for third at 249.

“My goal was to hit fairways and greens, and it became easier today (Thursday),” said Taruc, who intensified his training after finishing sixth in the JPGT kickoff leg at Splendido Taal.

“I focused primarily on my short game and putting for this tournament. I also worked on my tee shots because, at Splendido, they were inconsistent, and my course management needed improvement,” said the 14-year-old talent from Marikina, whose home course is at Camp Aguinaldo.

In the premier 16-18 category of the series organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., Patrick Tambalque positioned himself for a second leg victory while competing in multiple series in the 72-hole tournament. The Cavite native, who snared the title in the Visayas Series 2 in Murcia, Binitin, shot a 75 for a 224, eight strokes clear of Visayas Series 3 winner Simon Wahing, who birdied the 17th to post his own three-over card for a 232.

Benedict Kobayashi turned in a 74 for a 234.

Tambalque flashed top form with a one-birdie, one-bogey card after 15 holes but bogeyed the par-5 16th and finished with a double bogey on the par-4 No. 18, leaving room for improvement in the final round of the tournament sponsored by ICTSI.

“I had a clean scorecard going into the last three holes,” said Tambalque, who birdied the 11th to offset a miscue on No. 4. However, after dropping a stroke on the 16th, he drove into the thick rough on the 18th and sent his 5-iron approach shot into a hazard. With not much of a clear shot from a stony area, he opted to play out and reached the green in four.

“Just minor adjustments, and hopefully, I won’t waste any strokes due to mental errors,” he stressed.

Rafa Anciano also moved closer to a second JPGT crown, assembling a 249 after a 77 to hold a huge 39-stroke lead over Gabriela Sison, who made a 93 for a 288 in the girls’ 16-18 category.

Chloe Rada, whom Anciano nipped in sudden death at Pinewoods, struggled with a second straight 97 and fell to third place with 290, while Casey Frankum posted a 293 total after a 95 and Necky Tortosa made a 115 for a three-day total of 340.

“Everything came together. My best score in the JPGT Series last year was 79, and I thought that was the peak of my potential. Breaking that record was a delightful surprise, and I felt incredibly happy with my performance,” said Anciano, who highlighted her impressive 37-40 card with a near ace on the 179-yard No. 8 off a superb 3-wood tee shot.

Anciano attributed her improved game, following rounds of 84 and 87, to dedicated practice. “I’m going to focus on my short game again, just as I did after the second round, which made a significant difference,” said Anciano, who hails from Mandaluyong City. “Hopefully, I can maintain my short game skills and further improve my putting.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here