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Tiebreaker Times


PGT: Reymon Jaraula’s backside assault repels Valley Golf field

Hounded by a throng of pursuers in a rousing frontside battle, Reymon Jaraula successfully repelled them with a decisive birdie-eagle feat on No. 10. Despite a wobbly finish, he managed to secure a five-stroke victory over Lloyd Go and Clyde Mondilla in the ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge in Antipolo on Friday.

Mondilla matched Jaraula’s exploits on Nos. 10 and 11, allowing him to claim solo second place. However, Mondilla struggled to gain any strokes in the following holes, resulting in a string of pars marred by a couple of late bogeys. His missed birdie putt from four feet on par-4 No. 9 of Valley South prevented him from ending his long title drought.

In contrast, Jaraula fueled his own bid with a remarkable par-save on the same hole. Despite hitting his shot from the trees to the front of the green and chipping past the sloping hole, he managed to sink a pressure-packed putt from six feet. The subdued applause from the gallery turned into shock as Mondilla missed his birdie attempt from close range.

By averting a potential 2-shot swing, Jaraula maintained his two-stroke lead over Alido, ensuring his overnight advantage remained intact. He skillfully fended off challenges from Korean Chon Koo Kang, Japanese Ueda Atsushi, Jhonnel Ababa, Go, and Mondilla throughout the round. The competition began under sunlight, played through dark skies midway, and concluded under sweltering mid-noon conditions.

With a powerful backside surge and Alido’s uncharacteristic double-bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13, Jaraula widened the gap by five strokes. Despite some miscues on Nos. 16 and 18, he managed to secure his second Philippine Golf Tour crown.

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“There was pressure from the start – I had a couple of mishits and bogeyed the first two holes. But I told myself to just relax and try to rebound on the back nine,” said Jaraula in Filipino.

“But I regained my confidence after saving par on No. 9, then made a birdie-eagle start on the back,” added Jaraula, who finished with a total of 10-under 278, earning him P360,000. This victory comes four years after his playoff win over Tony Lascuña at Pueblo de Oro.

Go rallied with a 69 to tie Mondilla, who scrambled to a 72, for second place at 283, earning them each P186,000. Aidric Chan secured the low amateur honors with a stellar 66, finishing in a strong joint fourth place with recent Villamor Philippine Masters winner Ababa, who closed with a 72, at 284.

Despite missing a birdie opportunity on No. 10, Alido managed to birdie the next hole. However, a couple of mishaps in the following two holes dropped him out of contention for the title. The Bacolod leg winner concluded with a 76, finishing in a joint sixth place at 285 with Zanieboy Gialon (69), Gabriel Manotoc, Rico Depilo, and Guido van der Valk (all with 70s), as well as Keanu Jahns and Lascuna (both carding identical 72s).

Jaraula’s bogeys in the first two holes foreshadowed a wild finish to the P2 million championship sponsored by ICTSI. Although Alido, who started the final round two shots behind Jaraula, also struggled with two bogeys in the first three holes, it provided an opportunity for at least seven players to vie for the crown.

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They included Kang and Ueda with the former moving within two with a frontside 34 and the latter putting in a 35 to close within three as Jaraula and Alido wrestled with 37s.

Ababa likewise sparked hopes of a reprise of his come-from-behind win at Villamor two weeks ago when he threatened within two at five-under overall with a birdie on No. 5. He, however, slipped back with a bogey on the eighth and a missed birdie chance on the next.

Go also got into the mix with a 34 while Mondilla bucked a bogey-bogey skid from No. 2 with a birdie on the seventh and erased the stigma of a flubbed birdie putt on the ninth by matching Jaraula’s birdie-eagle start at the back in the final group of the championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

But Jaraula picked up another stroke on No. 13 and Mondilla settled for five pars before closing out with back-to-back mishaps against the former’s bogeys in the closing holes.

Jaraula later said he will try to get better and stronger as the Tour heads to Forest Hills, also in Antipolo, in two weeks’ time, saying: “I’ll take some rest then get back to work and hope to get better. Sana manalo pa uli.”

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