Que ends 5-year title drought with Philippine Masters win

Que ends 5-year title drought with Philippine Masters win
Angelo Que poses with his championship trophy.
Pilipinas Golf

MANILA, Philippines -- Angelo Que ended an excruciating five-year wait for a championship by securing the ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters title in a stunning display of late-round brilliance, defeating Hyun Ho Rho by four strokes with a closing 67 at the Villamor Golf Club in Pasay City Saturday.

Que clinched the championship in style. Starting the final round one stroke behind, he quickly overtook Rho with a spectacular pitch-in eagle from 50 yards on the par-4 opening hole. They exchanged leads multiple times under humid, overcast conditions, while keeping their competitors scrambling for a distant third place.

Que’s resilience was evident as the golfer regained the lead after slipping off it at the turn. But three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 12 against Rho’s run of pars propelled the seasoned campaigner to a two-stroke lead, ultimately sealing his triumph with a critical birdie on the 16th, a shot Rho failed to match.

What was anticipated to be a thrilling conclusion to the P2-million championship sponsored by ICTSI turned into an anti-climactic ending as Que cruised to a commanding victory. He finished with routine pars on the last two holes for a 34-33 and a 72-hole total of 10-under 278, earning P345,000.

“It feels great to win after five years. I’ve been struggling with my game over the past three to four years, so to win again, especially with so many young competitors around, feels really good at this age. At least, it shows that all my hard work has paid off,” said Que, 45, who last won in the Philippine Golf Tour Asia at Manila Southwoods in 2019.

Despite several impressive finishes both domestically and internationally, a championship victory has eluded him until now.

After a strong frontside 34 performance, Rho faltered under pressure, dropping a stroke on No. 10 and compounding his troubles with a three-putt bogey on the 18th. He finished with a 72, placing second with a 282 total wroth P224,000.

Que reflected on the competitive dynamics of the day, noting: “The whole day, Rho was holing more putts than me despite me hitting it closer than him.” 

Despite this challenge, Que remained focused on the crucial moments that defined his victory. “But that didn’t matter. What mattered was my birdie putt on No. 12. That was the turning point. I sort of gained momentum and I didn’t stop from there.”

The crucial birdie putt marked a significant shift, steering Que forward with renewed confidence and determination, leading to his triumph.

The duel between Que and Rho captivated spectators, especially when the latter aced the par-3 No. 4 to spike a lead-grabbing first-round 68. Although he stumbled with a second round 75, Rho bounced back with a 68, highlighted by a tap-in eagle on No. 18 set up by a masterful high draw 3-wood shot from 256 yards.

Que’s opening round of 73 did not initially bode well for his bid to end the title drought, but subsequent rounds of 68 and a determined 79 reversed his fortunes. Entering this fourth leg of the Philippine Golf Tour with renewed confidence, Que was buoyed by recent strong performances, including a runner-up finish to Clyde Mondilla at Caliraya Springs, a solo 12th place finish at the All Thailand Partnership Trophy, and a tied for ninth effort in the Phuket Open over the past four weeks.

Que expressed his pride and satisfaction after his latest victory, saying: “This win is good for me. Only a few players have won the Philippine Open and the Philippine Masters, so at least, I’m part of history again.”

Que, who previously claimed the country’s premier championship at Wack Wack in 2008, sees this win as a significant boost to his confidence for future competitions.

“This victory will also give me some confidence for the coming months. Hopefully, I can replicate this abroad,” said Que.

Grateful for the unwavering support from his loved ones, he extended his heartfelt thanks to his family, including his wife Tracy and their children Chandra and Camillo, as well as his swing coach Bong Lopez, for standing by him through thick and thin.

As the final round unfolded, the tension peaked with Rho and Que tied through eight holes. Rho’s drive into the woods on the ninth seemed like a misstep, but his incredible recovery shot and a 50-foot birdie putt that found the bottom of the cup, electrified the gallery and swung the momentum back in his favor.

However, Que was not easily rattled. Despite a bogey on No. 11 that left him one stroke behind Rho, he demonstrated an impressive blend of power, precision and poise to wrest control. He then used his experience to outplay his young Korean rival down the stretch.

Amateur Jeffren Lumbo, playing two flights ahead, made a valiant attempt to disrupt the Que-Rho showdown with his own brilliant play. However, despite his intimate knowledge of the tight, tricky layout, Lumbo succumbed to the pressure, faltering with a bogey on No. 12 and falling out of contention.

His streak of six pars to cap off his round of 68 netted the club bet an impressive joint third-place finish in his first major tournament where he also emerged as the low amateur. He tied with Tony Lascuña and Lloyd Go, who carded 67 and 71, respectively, at 283.

Aidic Chan shot a 71 for solo sixth at 285 while Ryan Monsalve slipped with a second straight 73 for seventh at 286 and Daiya Suzuki fumbled with a 75 to tumble to eighth at 287 followed by Guido van der Valk and Sean Ramos with 288 and 289 after 71 and 75, respectively.

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