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JPGT Luzon Series 3: Anciano edges Rada in playoff; Padilla wins

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JPGT Luzon Series 3: Anciano edges Rada in playoff; Padilla wins
Rafa Anciano (left) and Tristan Padilla.
Pilipinas Golf

BAGUIO – Rafa Anciano and pal Chloe Rada injected excitement and intensity into the girls’ division of the premier age category of the Junior Philippine Golf Tour Luzon Series 3, with the former clinching the dramatic win on the second playoff hole here Thursday.

In front of the fringe on the par-4 18th of the Pinewoods Golf and Country Club, Anciano calmly chipped to within three feet, then sank the par-saving putt to claim victory. Meanwhile, Rada's attempt to blast out of the right greenside bunker left her well short of the target, resulting in a long putt which she missed.

Despite the pressure of the competition, Anciano emphasized the shared passion and enjoyment they both found in the playoff.

“There was pressure but we’re both passionate. We were just really having fun in the playoff, but I just stayed calm and positive,” said the Homeschool Global student, who savored her victory after finishing second and third last year.

At Forest Hills, camaraderie and competition blended seamlessly as Anciano and Rada faced off for the championship. Reflecting on their long-standing friendship, Anciano said: “We practiced a lot together at Forest Hill. It was fun because I know that we’ve been on similar levels for a long time. Being able to get head-to-head was really cool.”

In the boys’ category, Tristan Padilla dominated with an emphatic 11-shot victory. Leading Charles Serdenia by nine strokes after 54 holes, Padilla extended his lead with a frontside 36.

Despite Serdenia's rally, featuring three birdies in the first four holes of the backside, the 15-year-old Padilla, who finished second at Pradera Verde, maintained his lead, finishing with a three-under 285 total after a 68 spiked by a solid backside 32.

Serdenia, aiming for his second JPGT trophy after a come-from-behind win at Splendido Taal, settled for second with a 296 total after a 70. The runner-up finish, however, earned him crucial points for the upcoming JPGT Match Play Championship in October.

Padilla’s triumph mirrored the dominant victories of Brianna Macasaet and Jose Luis Espinosa in the 8-10 category, as well as Lisa Sarines in the girls’ 11-14 division. Vito Sarines also secured the boys’ 11-14 title, marking his second win in the first three legs of the Luzon series via a two-stroke victory.

“I didn’t focus on my lead, but I tried to score the best I could,” he said. “I tried to beat my score Wednesday (67), which didn’t happen, but I was happy with the way I finished,” said Padilla, representing De La Salle-Zobel, who focused on personal improvement rather than just maintaining the lead.

Earlier, Rada, needing to make a par-saving putt from five feet on the 18th, successfully did so, finishing with a 90 in regulation. Anciano, however, matched this under pressure, sinking her own par-saving putt from three feet to finish with a 91, leading to a tied total of 356 and necessitating a playoff.
Both players showcased their short game skills with impressive pitch shots setting up their par-saving putts. Rada, from a challenging lie on the left side of the green, executed a delicate shot over a bunker. Anciano, with a straightforward pitch from 60 yards, also placed her shot well.

Ultimately, Anciano, 15, clinched victory with a scrambling par as Rada mishit her approach shot on the finishing hole in a thrilling finale filled with mistakes but highlighted the exceptional grit and determination of both players.

Anciano squandered a one-stroke lead with a double-bogey on the par-4 17th, which Rada bogeyed, sending the match into an extra hole.

This victory marked Anciano’s first in the series, following a fourth-place finish at Splendido Taal and a fifth at Pradera Verde. The ICTSI-sponsored circuit continues to highlight the talent and skills of the country’s leading junior players and emerging talents.

In the boys’ division, Mark Kobayashi placed third with a 312 total after a 77, while Ramon Fabie finished fourth with a 328 total after a 78.

Meanwhile, the three-leg JPGT Visayas Series kicks off Monday, June 17, at the Iloilo Golf and Country Club, formerly known as Santa Barbara Golf Course. Bacolod will host the next two legs, first at the Bacolod Golf and Country Club from June 24-27, and then at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club from July 1-4.

Registration for the Visayas swing is ongoing. For more details, contact PGTI’s Jhi Castillo at 0928-316-5678 or Shiela Salvania at 0968-311-4101.

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