Sarines, Tan rule JPGT Pradera golf tilt

Sarines, Tan rule JPGT Pradera golf tilt
Lisa Sarines (left) and Geoffrey Tan pose with their medals.
Pilipinas Golf

LUBAO, Pampanga – Lisa Sarines triumphed in the girls’ 11-14 category of the Junior Philippine Golf Tour Luzon Series 2, scoring a wire-to-wire victory with a 72, while Geoffrey Tan dominated the boys’ side at the Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club here Thursday.

Sarines, who finished third in the JPGT’s kickoff leg at Splendido Taal, secured her first series win by holding onto her overnight four-stroke lead over Levonne Talion, despite a shaky front nine stint that featured three birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey.

Her even-par card in the final round brought her to a 54-hole total of 223, five strokes clear of twin sister Mona.

Talion, who seized solo second with a 76 Wednesday, fell five strokes behind with a frontside 37. Despite a birdie on the 12th, she missed opportunities to close the gap, bogeying two of the last five holes for a 74 for a 229, enabling Mona Sarines, who also matched par 72, to snatch runner-up honors at 228.

Series I champion Precious Zaragosa struggled to an 82 and ended up fourth with 248.

“There was pressure because Mona started making more birdies than me, and I knew she could catch up if I made a mistake on any hole. I was aware she could easily take advantage,” said Lisa, 12. Despite this, she relied on her mother’s advice “to just manage the pressure.”

“I was able to handle it (pressure) in the end,” added Lisa, who acknowledged the need to improve her long game, putting and course management. “This win means a lot to me, and I’m happy that I won.”

Tan, meanwhile, marked his JPGT debut with a resounding 19-stroke victory over first leg winner Vito Sarines with a closing 70. He took a commanding 12-stroke lead after 18 holes following an impressive two-under 70 and stretched it to 18 with a 73 in the second round.

Despite some struggles, including dropping two strokes on the fifth hole and bogeying the next, Tan’s closing two-under card secured a total of 213, well ahead of the 19-player field, setting a record early in the series.

Vito Sarines finished way back at 232 after a 71, while Zianbeau Edoc placed third at 237 after a 76.

“I didn’t expect to dominate because I knew I had tough competitors,” said the 14-year-old Tan, reflecting on his runaway victory. “I feel good about this win, it has given me the confidence I need for my upcoming competitions in the US.”

Tan is set to participate in several tournaments in North Carolina before heading to the Junior World in San Diego in July.

Lisa Sarines and Tan thus joined Ryuji Suzuki and Georgina Handog, who topped the 8-10 division on Wednesday, with Suzuki emerging as the first player to achieve back-to-back victories in the 14-leg series, organized to promote the sport and discover new talents through its nationwide circuit. Three legs are scheduled in the Visayas while the Mindanao swing will feature four tournaments.

Despite her day-long struggle with her shots, Jiwon Lee maintained firm control in the girls’ 15-18 division of the three-category series put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. She built a commanding 12-stroke lead with an eagle-spiked 66 in the first round and extended it to 18 shots with a 72 Wednesday, before settling for a 17-stroke lead with a 74 in the third round.

“I struggled today, I had very bad drives and very bad irons. I wasn’t doing really well with the up-and-down, which is why I scored a lot of bogeys,” rued Lee, who shot five birdies but negated them with five bogeys and a double-bogey.

However, with a four-under 212 aggregate, Lee is poised to exceed her target score and secure another runaway victory following a 13-stroke romp over Lia Duque at Splendido Taal.

Reese Ng carded a 34 after two 78s for a 229 while Duque hobbled with a 75 and remained in third place with a 237.

“I’ll try to bring back the confidence I had on the first day and make a good comeback,” Lee added.

In the boys’ division of the premier class, Shinichi Suzuki broke away from a tight third round battle with Tristan Padilla, shooting a five-under 31 on the third nine of the vast Pradera Verde complex on his way to a 67.

Padilla, who had tied with Suzuki at 148 after a big second-round 71, couldn’t keep up despite an eagle on the final hole.

Suzuki’s play on Pradera’s first nine resulted in a two-birdie, two-bogey output for a five-under round and a 215 total, giving him a five-stroke cushion over Padilla, who ended with a 220 after a 72.

“I played really great today. All my tee shots and approach shots were on line, and my putts kept dropping, so I’m really happy with how I played,” said Shinichi Suzuki, whose 36-31 card, which featured eight birdies against three bogeys, was 11 strokes better than his 78 Wednesday.

He plans to stay cautious and aware of the potential pitfalls, aiming to consistently make par, maintain his lead and focus on hitting fairways and greens.

Santino Pineda, meanwhile, squandered a brilliant third nine 33 with two bogeys and two double bogeys on the first nine, finishing with a 75 for a share of third at 227 with Mark Kobayashi, who stumbled with a 77.

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